June 15, 2009
FINA World League Super Final Results
KIRISHI, Russia - The United States women's water polo team, featuring five players with Stanford ties, rolled to its fourth FINA World League Super Final gold medal in the last six years by defeating Canada, 9-6 Sunday in Kirishi, Russia. Cardinal alumnae Brenda Villa '03, the U.S. captain, Alison Gregorka '07 and Lauren Silver '09 were joined on the victorious American squad by senior Jessica Steffens '10 and incoming freshman Annika Dries '13.
Dries (Laguna Beach, Calif.) would score the second goal for the U.S. in the final, helping the Americans erase an early 1-0 lead and take a 2-1 advantage into the second period. The U.S. would never trail again from that point.
Villa and Dries would each score five goals over the United States' six games to lead the Cardinal contingent, while Gregorka added four goals and Silver and Steffens scored one apiece. The performance of the quintet helped the U.S. to a 5-1 mark in tournament play, as the only setback for the Americans came in its third game, a 13-12 loss to host Russia.
Three of the Stanford standouts, Villa, Gregorka and Dries, combined for five goals in the 17-7 tournament-opening victory for the U.S. over Italy. Villa and Gregorka each scored twice, with Dries chipping in a goal.
Dries, who scored in five of the six U.S. contests, added another tally in the next game, a 9-5 victory over China. She would again add a goal, along with one apiece from Gregorka, Silver and Steffens in a losing effort against Russia.
The U.S. would rebound in its next contest, dropping Greece by a 7-5 score thanks in part to a pair of goals from Villa and one more from Dries, earning a semifinal date with rival Australia. There, Villa and Gregorka each found the back of the cage as the U.S. captured a nail-biting 9-8 decision to reach the title game against its neighbor to the north, Canada.
Following the gold-medal victory over the Canadians, the U.S. will now turn its attention to the FINA World Championships, set for mid-July in Rome, Italy.