U.S. women's water polo team to play at CdM

When the U.S. Olympic men's water polo team beat Hungary last month in an exhibition at Newport Harbor High, it was the first time the Americans had beaten the perennial power in 10 years.

The American women, by contrast, are looking for their fourth victory over Hungary this week when they come to Newport Beach on Sunday.

The U.S. Olympic women's water polo team plays Hungary at 3 p.m. Sunday at Corona del Mar High, the last of four exhibition games this week in the lead up to London. It will be a unique experience to see two world powers in action just weeks before the London Olympics begin.

Like their men's counterparts, the U.S. women seem to have realistic expectations to win gold at the Olympic Games, which begin for Team USA in group play on July 29 against the same Hungarians.

Team USA features Corona del Mar High and USC alumna Tumua Anae, a first-time Olympian, as one of two goalies on its roster. Anae played the whole game on the Fourth of July. She made 13 saves as Team USA defeated Hungary, 14-8, at the USA Water Polo national training center in Los Alamitos.

The U.S. women beat Hungary, 17-8, in the first of the four-game series on Monday at Stanford University. They also beat Hungary, 7-6, on Friday night at UC San Diego. Anae played goalie in the second half, making a big save in the final minute to help preserve the win.

Winning is not unusual for the American women, who are top-ranked in the world and have won seven of their last eight international competitions, most recently the FINA World League Super Final in China in early June. But Team USA still is looking for its first Olympic gold medal, after taking silver four years ago in Beijing.

Anae, 23, is expected to back up Betsey Armstrong in the cage in London. Many consider Armstrong the best women's goalie in the world.

The American women, coached by Adam Krikorian, are led by team captain Brenda Villa. Villa, along with teammate Heather Petri, will be the first U.S. women to compete in four Olympic Games in water polo.

Tickets will be available at the door at CdM on Sunday afternoon for $20. The game will be televised live on NBC Sports Network (formerly Versus).


Twitter: @mjszabo

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