Santa Ana, CA - October 27 - A year after the USA Women's National Team won gold in London, it was fitting that Team London took home the title at the Futures 50 Classic. Comprised of a mix of the top women's water polo athletes in the United States, the three day tournament concluded with Team London topping Team Sydney 9-7 in the final match. In the third place game it was Team Athens topping Team Beijing 13-12 in a shootout. Team London's Annika Dries was named the tournament MVP after scoring four goals in the championship match.
Team Sydney started off strong taking a 2-1 lead at the end of the first period behind goals from Ashley Grossman and Michelle Caron. Team Sydney kept up the pace in the second leading 4-2 with 3:13 left in the second period after a goal from Jordan Raney. Dries got her first goal of the day moments later, cutting the deficit to 4-3 heading into halftime. Team London started to get in a groove early in the third period with consecutive goals from Rachel Fattal and Ivanna Bilvaer to go up 5-4 with 5:46 left. With 1:13 remaining in the third, Jillian Kraus scored the second of her two goals on the day to even the match at 5-5.
Dries got to work in the fourth period as she opened the quarter with a goal to take a 6-5 lead. After Sydney came back to tie the game Colleen O'Donnell scored for a 7-6 advantage. Dries hit for a goal on the next possession to build an 8-6 lead for London. The match was put away for good when Dries scored her third of the period with 2:01 remaining to go up 9-6. KK Clark added a goal late for Sydney, but the damage had been done and London came away winners.
The third place game saw an epic comeback in the fourth by Team Athens to force a shootout. Kat Klass scored twice in the first period to help Team Beijing take a 3-2 lead after one. Athens tied the match early in the second only to see Beijing score four straight to take a 7-3 lead halftime, the last coming from Kiley Neushul.
Beijing kept up their attack in the third period. Neushul scored to open the period taking an 8-3 lead and then moments later Becca Dorst scored to build a 9-4 advantage. Maddie Musselman stopped the run late in the period scoring for Athens to trail 9-5 after three periods. With 5:31 left in the fourth Athens began their comeback. Two goals from Maggie Steffens and a score each from Devin Grab and Stephanie Mutafayan forced the extra time with a 9-9 tie.
In the shootout both sides were even making their first three shots. Ashleigh Johnson then blocked the final two shooters for Team Beijing to secure the victory for Athens 13-12.
1st place match London 9 (1, 2, 2, 4) A. Dries 4, C. O'Donnell 1, K. Gilchrist 1, I. Bilaver 1, A. Fischer 1, R. Fattal 1 Sydney 7 (2, 2, 1, 2) J. Kraus 2, K. Clark 2, M. Caron 1, J. Raney 1, A. Grossman 1
3rd place match Athens 13 (2, 1, 2, 4) (4) M. Steffens 3, C. Snyder 2, S. Mutafayan 1, D. Grab 1, M. Musselman 1, S. Caparelli 1 Beijing 12 (3, 4, 2, 0) (3) K. Neushul 3, K. Klass 2, B. Dorst 1, K. Benedetti 1, P. Orozco 1, M. Fischer 1
Futures 50 Classic Results Friday, October 25 Team London 8 Team Sydney 5 Team Athens 8 Team Beijing 7 Saturday, October 26 Team Sydney 6 Team Beijing 5 Team London 8 Team Athens 5 Team London 11 Team Beijing 13 (SO) Team Sydney 9 Team Athens 6 Sunday, October 27 3rd Place - Team Athens 13 Team Beijing 12 (SO) 1st Place - Team London 9 Team Sydney 7
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