Team USA Water Polo Results: United States, Spain End In A 9-9 Draw

Jul 30, 2012; London, United Kingdom; United States goal keeper Betsey Armstrong (1) blocks a shot against Hungary in the first quarter in the women's preliminary round during the 2012 London Olympic Games at Water Polo Arena. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

The United States and Spain ended in a surprising 9-9 draw, from mid-way through the third quarter until about two minutes in the fourth quarter it looked like Team USA was going to win the game. Betsey Armstrong blocked a penalty shot with 3:29 when the the United States was down 6-5. Following that save Team USA scored four straight goals to go up 9-6. Three of those four goals came during their power play, and Brenda Villa earned her first goal of the game in the fourth quarter.


Related: Complete London water polo coverage

However, with just over two minutes left in the game the United States was not playing to hold their lead because they were still earning ejections, but they were not as aggressive as they were earlier in the match. Spain was able to tie the game on a penalty shot and then two straight power play goals to tie the game. The key goal for Spain came after the penalty shot where they stole the ball from Team USA and then converted on a power play goal in a matter of 45 seconds.

In the final possession for the United States, everything went perfectly as they drove the ball down and drew an ejection with 39 seconds left, did not score, but drew another with 10 seconds left in the game. In the final 10 seconds the United States whipped the ball around but Villa elected to take a shot from the lefty side of the pool, and Villa being a right-handed player had a poor angle, and here shot was blocked. However, there was a United States player, forget who, that was wide open center cage at about five meters or so, and had Villa passed to that player they could have had a better look at a game-winning shot.

The tie was a big blow for the United States because had they won they would have won the group, but now they need to outscore their opponents to be able to top Spain through goal differential. Right now Spain is plus-five while the United States is plus-one.

The tie had to be a let down after scoring four straight goals in the third and fourth quarters. Goalie Betsey Armstrong had a good game with 10 saves included a penalty shot that she blocked.

Team USA head coach Adam Krikorian felt they played well except at the very end:

"It's hard to hold Spain down for so long,'' U.S. coach Adam Krikorian said. "We played great defensively in the second half, besides the last two minutes. We needed to get a five-on-six stop there at the end and we couldn't do it.''

Up next for the United States is against China on Friday.

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