Lauren Wenger is capped up for Team USA for her second Olympic Games.
July 30, 2012
USC women's water polo was represented in all four group play matches today in London as Olympic women's water polo action kicked off. Playing for Hungary, current Trojan goalie Flora Bolonyai was up against a Team USA roster packed with three Women of Troy - Tumua Anae, Kami Craig and Lauren Wenger. USC grads Sofia Konoukh and Aniko Pelle were capped up for Russia and Italy, respectively, as the pair have now played in a combined seven Olympic Games. The biggest day of the Trojan contingent came from incoming freshman Anna Espar of Spain, who finished off a hat trick in a win for her Olympic debut.
Espar was lined up for the first match of the day early this morning, Pacific Time. The talented Spaniard punched in three goals in an 11-8 win over China for a strong start for Spain in group play.
The next match of the day put USC grad Aniko Pelle in the mix for Italy. The three-time Olympian scored once for the Italians in a 10-8 loss to Australia.
Four-time Olympian Sofia Konoukh in the water for Russia against Great Britain. Konoukh had a rare day of no goals scored, but her efforts still helped anchor Russia to a 7-6 win over the Olympic hosts.
The final game of the day pitted the United States against Hungary. First-time Olympian Flora Bolonyai was capped up in goal for Hungary, facing a set of former Trojans on Team USA. U.S. backup goalie and first-time Olympian Tumua Anae didn't play in this one, but 2008 Olympic silver medalist Trojans Kami Craig and Lauren Wenger were in action for the USA. Craig scored a key goal to boost the United States ahead 9-8 in the third period, and Team USA would hang on to claim a 14-13 win over Hungary on day one of women's water polo action.
August 1 brings the next stage of group play for the women's water polo Olympians. Bolonyai and Hungary face China at 6:10 a.m. PT; Pelle and Konoukh will square off in a 7:30 a.m. clash between Italy and Russia; and Team USA's Anae, Craig and Wenger will take on Espar's Spain at 10:20 a.m.
Follow all the Trojans in their pursuits of Olympic gold at www.usctrojans.com/london2012
TUMUA ANAE USA women's water polo
A three-time first-team All-American and 2010 NCAA Champion at USC, Anae is a first-time Olympian. Anae got the call up to the U.S. National Team after graduating from USC in 2010 and helped Team USA win 2011 and 2012 FINA World League Super Final championships as well as earn Olympic qualification at the 2011 Pan American Games. She is USC's all-time leader in career saves and single-season saves, and is one of only two goalies to be have been named MPSF Player of the Year.
KAMI CRAIG USA women's water polo
The only female player to win back-to-back Peter J. Cutino Awards as the nation's top collegiate water polo player, USC graduate Kami Craig is playing in her second Olympic Games. A 2008 silver medalist with Team USA, Craig took a break from USC for a season in order to train and compete for the United States in Beijing. Upon returning to USC, Craig helped the Trojans win a national championship in 2010 before closing down her USC career as a four-time All-American and USC's No. 8 all-time scorer. In addition to now being a two-time Olympian, Craig has helped the United States win the FINA World Championships in 2007 and 2009 and most recently was the team's second leading scorer at both the 2012 FINA World League Super Final and 2011 Pan American Games.
LAUREN WENGER USA women's water polo
The 2006 Peter J. Cutino Award winner as the nation's top collegiate water polo player in her senior season at USC, Lauren Wenger stands a a two-time Olympian with a silver medal won with Team USA at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. She has helped lead the United States to gold at the 2007 and 2009 FINA World Championships, picking up honors as the tournament MVP in 2007. As a Trojan, Wenger was a three-time All-American and helped USC make history as the first team to go undefeated in a season with a 29-0 finish en route to the 2004 NCAA Championship, finishing her career in 2006 as USC's No. 12 all-time scorer.
FLORA BOLONYAI Hungary women's water polo
A two-time All-American already after her first two seasons at USC, Flora Bolonyai is a first-time Olympian as she helped Hungary qualify for the 2012 Olympic Games in reaching the semifinals of April's qualification tournament. In her sophomore season at USC, Bolonyai helped lead the Trojans to the 2012 NCAA title match. She averaged 10.1 saves per game for USC at the MPSF and NCAA tournaments as she picked up honors on the NCAA All-Tournament Second Team and All-MPSF Second Team.
ANNA ESPAR Spain women's water polo
First-time Olympian Anna Espar has signed on to join the Women of Troy as a freshman this coming season.
SOFIA KONOUKH Russia women's water polo
The second leading scorer in USC history, Sofia Konoukh played three seasons at USC after making her Olympic debut and winning a bronze medal in 2000 with Russia. She would go on to appear in every Olympics thereafter, making her a four-time Olympian with this year's trip to the 2012 London Games. Konoukh earned back-to-back MPSF Player of the Year honors in her first two years at USC and finished as a three-time first team All-American.
ANIKO PELLE Italy women's water polo
USC's all-time leading scorer helped the Trojans win their first-ever national championship as a freshman in 1999. She is playing in her third Olympic Games, having played for Hungary in 2004 and 2008 before moving to Italy and marrying an Italian man, and is now competing for Italy in this 2012 Games in London. One of USC's most decorated athletes, Pelle was a four-time All-American and won the 2000 Peter J. Cutino Award as the nation's top collegiate water polo player.