The heavily favored and defending champion USA women's water polo team had to settle for an upsetting 7-7 tie with the Netherlands on the opening day of the FINA World Championships on Sunday in Shanghai, China.
The see-saw match was a showdown between the defending world champion Americans and the defending Olympic gold medalists.
"I think it was a great first game," said USA coach Adam Krikorian. "We knew coming into this tournament they would be our first game. It was going to be a very difficult first game. They are a great team. It was a good battle and a good building block for the rest of the tournament."
Stanford grad Brenda Villa scored one goal for the U.S. while current Cardinal teammates Melissa Seidemann and Annika Dries also scored once each. Dries tied the match at 1 at the 2:25 mark of the first quarter. Seidemann gave the U.S. a 2-1 lead on a counter attack with 5:49 remaining in the second period.
It was 3-3 at halftime before the Dutch took a 6-5 lead heading into the final quarter. With just 90 seconds gone in the fourth, Villa made a few fakes and rifled a shot into the cage for a 6-6 deadlock. The U.S. went ahead 7-6 on a goal by Lauren Wenger with just 2:45 remaining to play before the Netherlands scored at the 1:28 mark to tie.
Next up for the USA will be a Tuesday match against Hungary.
"We just want to get better," Krikorian said. "We know our next opponent, Hungary, is extremely talented, as well. We just have to learn from our mistakes in this game and learn from them, and get ready for our next game. We can't spend too much (time) dwelling on this. It is important that we just learn and move on."