Russia’s women’s water polo team had a slight two-goal lead heading into the final quarter of their game against Brazil Thursday morning.
Eight minutes later, that lead had grown to seven as the Russians easily defeated host Brazil 14-7.
Brazil actually scored the first two goals of the game and kept it close early. The score at halftime was 4-4. Both teams beat or matched their goal totals from Game 1 in the first half. In the first game, Russia fell to Australia 14-4 and Brazil fell to Italy 9-3.
It was the third quarter when Russia started to assert their dominance. This dominance was apparent midway through the quarter when Russia had three straight possessions without allowing Brazil to get the ball. The Russians had a shot hit the goalpost and bounce back to regain possession two times in a row. On their third shot attempt, a Brazilian was sent off for an exclusion, and Russia’s Elvina Karimova threw it into corner for a 6-4 lead.
Russia outscored Brazil 14-3 in the second half. Evgeniya Ivanova and Ekaterina Prokofyeva led Russia with three goals each. They shot nearly 50 percent on the day, making 14 of their 30 shots. Anna Karnaukh played the final three quarters in goal for Russia, stopping 9 of 13 shot attempts.
The schedule doesn’t get any easier for Brazil (0-2). They take on Australia Saturday at 10:40 a.m. Russia (1-1) will face Italy at 9:20 a.m.
Italy jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead in their game Thursday against Australia. Though they let the lead slip as the game went on, goalkeeper Guilia Gorlero kept her team in the game, and ultimately helped get the win, taking down Australia 8-7.
Gorlero was a pest for Australia’s offense all game, coming away with 12 saves and holding Australia scoreless on extra player attempts.
Both teams were coming off of dominant Game 1 wins. Italy defeated Brazil by 6 goals and Australia defeated Russia by 10. That offensive prowess though didn’t seem to transfer to Game 2 in the first half. Both teams were a combined 7-26 on shot attempts. They equally struggled from beyond five meters all game. Australia was 0-11 on long range shots, and Italy was 2-16.
Tied 6-6 heading into the final quarter, Italy struck first midway through on an extra-player shot. Australia tied it two minutes later on a shot that bounced off the post and into thegoal. With 49 seconds remaining, Italy had another extra player opportunity, and Roberta Bianconi took full advantage, throwing it into the goal from the five meter line.
With one final possession, Australia had an extra-player chance, but again couldn’t convert as Gorlero pounced on their last-second shot attempt to eventually save the game.
Arianna Garibotti had three of her team's eight goals. Six different Italians had a score in the game.
Italy (2-0) will play Saturday against Russia at 9:20 a.m. ET. Australia (1-1) will play Brazil at 10:40 a.m. ET.
The first half of the game between Hungary and Spain Thursday featured five ties with neither team getting more than a two goal lead.
Down one in the waning seconds of the fourth quarter, Hungary tried for one more tie, but couldn’t convert, falling to Spain 11-10.
Hungary had their largest lead in the second quarter after scoring three unanswered goals to go up two. Spain came back to score two goals of their own though to go into halftime tied 6-6.
The third quarter was when Spain started to pull away. After allowing a penalty shot goal just 28 seconds into the half, the Spanish answered with four unanswered goals - two from long distance, one on a penalty shot and one on an extra player shot to go into the fourth up 10-7.
Hungary tried to battle back in the fourth, but could never find the tying magic they had in the first half. Barbara Bujka scored twice, including a penalty shot with 5:28 remaining to cut the lead to one, and had a chance to tie it on the next possession, but Spanish goalkeeper Laura Ramos made the save to keep her team in the lead.
Ramos finished with eight saves on 18 shots attempts. Spain had five players score two goals.
Bujka led all scorers with five goals on six shot attempts.Hungary was 4-4 on penalty shots, but 0-6 on shots beyond five meters.
Hungary (1-1) will face the U.S. on Friday at noon ET. Spain (1-1) will take on China at 8 a.m. ET