TRIESTE, Italy – Emily Csikos of Calgary scored on a short side skip shot with four seconds remaining in the game as Canada tied reigning Olympic champions the Netherlands 11-11 on Monday at the Olympic qualifying tournament in women’s water polo.
It was the third goal of the game for Csikos. Canada’s other scorers were Joelle Békhazi and Marina Radu, both of Pointe-Claire, Que., and Krystina Alogbo of Riviere-des-Prairies, Que., with two apiece while sisters Carmen Eggens and Monika Eggens of Maple Ridge, B.C., added one each.
Rachel Riddell of Victoria tended goal for Canada.
“We knew this was going to be a close and hard fought game and it certainly was,’’ said Canada’s head coach Patrick Oaten. ‘’We had some bad luck with deflections off our blockers scoring on Rachel but we kept our composure.’’
Mieke Cabout gave the Dutch an 11-10 lead with 32 seconds to go after Canada had re-emerged in front 10-9 late in the game. The Canadians led 6-4 at the half but the Dutch scored three unanswered goals in the first six minutes of the second half to move ahead 7-6.
‘’Scoring with four seconds left in the game to tie showed the heart the team has right to the final whistle,’’ said Oaten. ‘’We are still in the hunt for the top spot in our group and will need to come out strong against Greece tomorrow.”
In the Group B standings, Canada and the Netherlands are 1-0-1, Greece 1-0-0, Kazakhstan 0-0-1 and Brazil 0-0-2. Group A action gets underway on Tuesday. The Group A teams are Russia, Spain, Italy and Hungary.
The top four teams in the tournament qualify for the London Games. Canada faces Greece on Tuesday and Brazil on Wednesday in the round robin. The top-four in each group advance to the quarterfinals which are the determining matches for a top-four finish. The quarterfinals are on Friday April 20.
The semis are on Saturday (April 21) and the placement matches on Sunday.