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Women’s water polo team concludes preliminary round in second place at the 2019 Summer Universiade

Photo credit: Mathieu Bélanger / Team Canada

Recaps by USPORTS

2019 FISU Summer Universiade

Water polo: Persistence pays off as Canada drops Japan in water polo opener

July 2, 2019

CASORIA, Italy (U SPORTS) – Led by a hat trick by Daphné Guèvremont, eight different scorers tallied for Canada in a 12-10 come-from-behind win over Japan in the opening game of the 2019 FISU Summer Universiade at the Casoria Community Pool Tuesday afternoon.

“Our offence definitely lacked a little but then we brought it back and I think it was just energy, pure energy,” said Canadian goalie Rachael Jaffe, who was made 13 saves in the game. “We just had a really good team morale and really, really, really wanted it.”

Japan opened the scoring with two quick goals, one from each of Yuri Kazama and Fura Nishiyama, to put the Canadians on their heels. Canada’s first attacking play resulted in Guèvremont’s curling shot flying just past the right post. The first Canadian goal came from Alexandra Massier, while a second goal from Massier, just moments later, helped Canada tied the game 2-2. Canada took a 3-2 lead on a quick shot by Ava Morrant but Japan’s quick ball movement kept the University of Toronto’s Jaffe busy in goal.

Tied 3-3 heading in to the second quarter, Canada came out firing, scoring three-straight goals from three different players: Valeria Rojas, Floranne Carroll and Guèvremont. Japan regrouped and found a way to come back leaving the game 6-5 in favour of Canada at half time.

Japan was able to expose Canada’s defence in the third quarter, scoring three goals right out of the break. A series of penalty shots took place first for Japan’s Chiaki Terakata who hit the post and then, less than a minute later, for Kaho Iwano who made no mistake. With Canada trailing 8-6, Valeria Rojas scored on a penalty shot to bring Canada back within one.

Entering the final quarter, Japan led 10-9 but back-to-back goals from Guèvremont put Canada back in charge. Myriam Lizotte’s late goal was the feather in the cap to a comeback performance that showcased Canada’s persistence.

“We are pretty young so we have the qualities of being young so sometimes missing a bit of experience like in the third period we stopped playing and were watching too much,” said Canadian head coach Cyril Dorgigné. “In the mean time because they are so young they never gave up. They have a big heart and they came back. They owe it to themselves.”


2019 FISU Summer Universiade

Water polo: Canada puts on offensive showcase to nab second win

July 5, 2019

CASORIA, Italy (U SPORTS) – Goalie Kelsey Jensen’s performance propelled Canada’s water polo team to its second victory, 8-1 over France, in Pool A play at the 2019 Summer Universiade at Casoria Community Pool on Friday.

A second victory leaves Canada in good position to move in to the top three in their pool and avoid an extra cross-over game.

“Same as our first game, we kind of slowed down (in the second half) and lost a bit of concentration but because this team is slower than the Japanese we weren’t hurt as much on the counter-attack, it just affected our offence,” said Canadian head coach Cyril Dorgigné, whose team had eight different scorers in their 12-10 win over Japan and seven different scorers against France.

“It’s a great group though because I can switch five for five and we can maintain the same level of performance. We have three lefties which is a big chance for us to look after our right side and we have two very good centres, two good goalies and we are pretty well armed for the rest of the competition.”

Canada came out of the gate strong as Ava Morrant buried a shot in the first minute of the game, while France struggled to match Canada’s quick passing. Peggy Jean Allin made a quick pass across the pool to Blaire McDowell, who found Floranne Carroll right in front of the net. Carroll turned and fired to make it 2-0 for Canada. Jensen was exceptional goal, turning away every shot from France. Jensen made a big stop late in the quarter and sprung Allin on the counter-attack with an open lane to goal. Allin made no mistake to send Canada in to the second quarter with a 3-0 lead.

In the second, Verica Bakoc set up Myriam Lizotte for a 4-0 lead, while Jensen continued to show her brilliance in goal. Jensen blocked a quick shot from France’s Laurine Bacquet to keep Canada’s momentum rolling. France finally found a way past Jensen from Yaelle Deschampt but the Canadians were quick to rally back on a pass from Daphné Guèvremont to Erica Hardy. Hardy confidently pushed the score to 5-1 for Canada heading in to half time.

“I thought I played well but I couldn’t have done it without my teammates,” said Jensen, competing in her second FISU Summer Universiade for Canada. “They were funneling the ball in to me and it made my job a lot easier. We were playing strong all game and doing well to not let them get the ball.”

France found its defensive stride in the third quarter, holding Canada to one goal. Brianna Utas’ long-range shot ricocheted off France goalie Lorene Derenty’s hand and in. Canada led 6-1 entering the final quarter.

The Canadians added two more goals in the fourth frame, one each from McDowell and Lizotte, to leave the final score 8-1 for Canada. Jensen finished the game with 13 saves. Seven different scorers got on the sheet, with Lizotte notching two for Canada.

“Kelsey stepped up and played very well today,” added Dorgigné, noting the depth in Jensen and Toronto goalie Rachel Jaffe. “We are very lucky because Rachel played well in the first game and then Kelsey came in and had a very high level as well. It’s comforting to know that if at some point one goalie is playing a little lower, the other one can step in easily.”


2019 FISU Summer Universiade

Water polo: Canadians score big in win over Czech Republic

July 7, 2019

CASORIA, Italy (U SPORTS) – Valeria Rojas was the left-handed ace that led Canada to a 23-8 victory over the Czech Republic at the 2019 Summer Universiade at Casoria Community Pool on Sunday. Rojas scored five goals for Canada, who will next face Hungary for a battle for the top of Pool A.

In addition to Rojas’ five goals, Peggy Jean Allin and Brianna Utas scored three goals each, while six other Canadians each scored two.

“We wanted to come out with a strong start and I think we just needed to get pace and get our game going,” said Rojas, who had a slow start to the game. “The back and forth (first half) showed us that this wasn’t going to be an easy game, so we need to get our tempo up and work as a team to get it going and get the goals up.”

“Being a lefty is pretty unique and it’s a big advantage to have. I’m able to help be a playmaker more and have an opportunity to give a nicer shot that goalies won’t expect as much.”

It was an exciting opening quarter, as Rojas opened the scoring on a short-side shot but captain Karolina Hlavata evened the score on a penalty shot moments later. Rojas had a hard shot blocked by Czech Republic goalie Barbora Pavlikova but the rebound returned to Rojas who delivered from close range for a 2-1 Canadian lead. Hlavata was lethal from long range with three minutes to go in the quarter to tie the game 2-2, while Canada scored four unanswered goals to bring their lead to 6-2 by the start of the second.

It was again a back-and-forth start to the second quarter, as Hlavata’s deceptive shot beat Canadian goalie Rachel Jaffe to bring Czech Republic back to just 6-3. Canadian Daphné Guèvremont scored her second of the game on a distance shot in response but Hlavata added another for the Czechs, who trailed 7-4. Canada continued to push their lead with goals from Alexandra Massier, Erica Hardy, Utas and Rojas. Jaffe made some key saves to preserve the lead as Canada enjoyed an 11-5 advantage heading in to half time.

“We knew it could be difficult if we did not start by being super focused, and we were not at the beginning,” said Canadian head coach Cyril Dorgigné. “This game has allowed us to build confidence as we will start playing against the big teams.”

In the third quarter, Canada out-scored the Czech Republic 6-1, as Canada’s Allin scored two, while Utas, Rojas, Hardy and Verica Bakoc each got on the board with a goal. Hlavata added her fourth goal of the game on a Czech Republic penalty to send the game in to the final frame at 17-6 in favour of Canada.

Canada added five goals from five different scores to start the final quarter. Karolina Javurkova added one for the Czech Republic, despite Kelsey Jensen doing a quality job in the Canadian goal to organize her team to minimize any shots. Canada took the game by a dominating final score of 23-8 to pick up their third win of the tournament.

“I think this really boosted up our confidence to get going from the next games that are coming,” added Rojas. “We are going to keep pushing and keep going with our strong play.”

“It will be a very physical match, they are very fast, they press a lot, they move very quickly in attack, so we will have to be organized,” said Dorgigné about Hungary. “We will have to resist the pressure and impose our game. If we are good in attack, we will eliminate their counterattack and it will be much easier for us to stay in the game.”


2019 FISU Summer Universiade

Water polo: Canada concedes first loss to powerful Hungary side

July 8, 2019

CASORIA, Italy (U SPORTS) – Canada’s women’s water polo team were dealt their first loss at the 2019 Summer Universiade at Casoria Community Pool on Monday. Hungary took the top of Pool A with a convincing 16-7 victory over Canada and remain undefeated heading in to the quarter-finals. Canada finishes second in Pool A.

“We knew going in to the game that they were going to be a lot more aggressive and physical than the previous teams going into the tournament so it was a little bit of an adjustment for a lot of us,” said Canadian Verica Bakoc. “I think we started playing better against their aggressiveness in the second half.”

Hungary established their dominance early, going up 4-0 with no time to spare. Canada’s first opportunity came on a Valeria Rojas blast but Hungary goalie Gina Lekrinszki made a great save. Canada finally got on the board through a clever shot by Peggy Jean Allin to leave the score 4-1 for Hungary at the first quarter break.

In the second quarter, Toronto’s Rachael Jaffe in the Canadian goal made an excellent block on Hungary’s Orsolya Hertzka, to give Canada a breath of momentum. Hungary’s physical play and speed of ball movement proved to be a challenge for the Canadians. Hungary’s Tamara Farkas made it 5-1 while Rojas was sent off with an exclusion. With less than a minute to go, Bakoc delivered on a penalty for Canada to make it 5-2 just before Dora Huszti scored again to lift Hungary up 6-2 entering halftime.

Hungary continued to put on a display of their lethal scoring, going up 8-2 in the early part of the third quarter. Myriam Lizotte got Canada back within five, down 8-3, while Lizotte then set up Allin for her second of the game to leave Canada down 9-4. Up a player, Canada was able to move the ball well to free up Allin again to make the score 10-5 in favour of Hungary. Jaffe made a fantastic save to end the third quarter with Canada trailing 11-5.

The Canadians were outscored 5-2 in the final quarter, after making some tactical changes in hopes of generating more scoring opportunities. Hungary powered their way to a 16-7 victory to top Pool A and play the winner of USA and Australia in Pool B.

“In the situation we were at, if we don’t take the risk, there is no reward,” noted Bakoc on the strategy change at halftime. “We were down by a few goals and we played a defence that was riskier for us to try and get the steal and get the ball. We were also more aggressive on defence and trying to push those little advantages we have and try to monopolize on their mistakes.”

Canada’s Allin and Bakoc each scored three goals in the game, while Hungary had nine different scorers.

“We started a little slow, down 4-0, and our rhythm wasn’t there and it’s Hungary versus the individuals,” said Canadian assistant coach Michel Roy. “I don’t think they are that much better than us but they have more experience than us, more game times, more playing times and more pro times. That makes a difference. We have college times but it’s not the same level.

“I’m a strong believer that we can look back and say we can work harder. We can work smarter. We can learn from here and go further but it all depends on how we react to this game.”

Canada (3-1) play in a quarter-final match against the winner of the fourth-placed team in Pool B against the fifth-placed team in Pool A. The quarter-finals take place on Wednesday in Casoria.



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