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Water Polo

Team USA Falls to Russia in Shootout at World Championship, 16-15

Team USA’s Paige Hauschild rises out of the water to take a shot against Russia in a quarterfinal game at the Youth World Championship Click to view larger
Team USA’s Paige Hauschild rises out of the water to take a shot against Russia in a quarterfinal game at the Youth World Championship (Peter Neushul photo)

AUCKLAND, New Zealand — Team USA fell to Russia in a quarterfinal match marked by controversy at the FINA Women's Youth Water Polo World Championship in Auckland, New Zealand on Friday.

The teams battled to an epic 9-9 draw in regulation, and Russia won in the second-round of a shootout, 16-15. The loss drops the defending champions out of medal contention and into the fifth-through-eighth bracket semifinals.

Team USA’s coaching staff filed a protest of the match after the illegal reentry of a previously fouled-out Russian player during fourth quarter action.  Rather than awarding an automatic penalty the official ejected the player, giving the Americans a player advantage.  If upheld, the protest would compel officials to replay the match from the point of the correctable error.

Team USA later elected to withdraw the protest in the interest of sportsmanship.

Russia took control early, taking a 2-1 lead in the first period before Team USA wrestled the lead away in the second quarter,  holding a 5-4 advantage at halftime and an 8-7 lead after three periods.

Russia outscored the Americans 2-1 in the fourth to knot the score at 9-9 and force a shootout.
 
San Marcos High senior Paige Hauschild (805 Santa Barbara WPC) scored the first goal in regulation and Ryann Neushul of Dos Pueblos and 805 hammered home the last midway through the fourth quarter.

Early in the final quarter, Neushul took the same penalty shot three times as the referee struggled to make the Russian goalie start on her goal line. Neushul put the first two attempts in the net but the official called them back. She then missed her third attempt.

The two teams remained tied after a flurry of shots in the last minute, including a Hauschild near miss off the upper right cross bar as time expired
 
Three Santa Barbara players participated in the five-player shootout—Hauschild, Neushul and Dos Pueblos freshman Jewel Roemer (805 Santa Barbara WPC).  Both sides connected on four of five shots in the shootout, leaving the game even at 13-13 going into the additional golden-goal shootout rounds.  Each team scored twice to even the score at 15-15. Roemer had her shot blocked and Russia converted to win the match 16-15.

Team USA will now face China on Saturday. 

To see a full replay of the USA-Russia quarter-final game click here.

Peter Neushul reported from Auckland, New Zealand

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