Seven Trojan Olympians have a wild day in London during group play.
Aug. 1, 2012
USC's seven women's water polo Olympians continued the heated battles in group play today (Aug. 1) in London, with Sofia Konoukh's Russia and Flora Bolonyai's Hungary pulling out wins to lead the pack of Trojans on the day. For Team USA, Kami Craig punched in four goals in what would wind up as a 9-9 tie with Anni Espar's Spain.
Former Trojan Sofia Konoukh scored her first goal of the 2012 Olympic Games to help the four-time Olympian keep Russia ahead of its group with a second win. Konoukh and the Russians posted a 7-4 win over Italy, which boasts three-time Olympian and USC's all-time leading scorer Aniko Pelle. Konoukh and Russia will next face Australia on Aug. 3 at 7:30 a.m. PT. Pelle and Italy will tangle with host Great Britain at 10:20 a.m. on Aug. 3.
USC's junior goalie Flora Bolonyai was capped up once again for Hungary in its group play clash with China. Bolonyai had four saves against the hot-shooting Chinese before giving way to her backup goalie midway through the second period of play. Hungary would pull out an 11-10 win over China, as Bolonyai and the Hungarians move along to face Spain at 6:10 a.m. on Aug. 3. There, Bolonyai will have to face off against an incoming Trojan teammate of hers in Spain's Anni Espar. Espar has scored four goals so far, including one today in a 9-9 tie with the USA.
The incoming USC freshman had three Trojan grads on the other end of the pool in today's Spain-USA clash in national champions Tumua Anae, Kami Craig and Lauren Wenger. Craig and Wenger - already with a 2008 Olympic silver medal under their belts - were strong in the pool again for Team USA. Craig emerged as the U.S. top scorer on the daw with a powerful four-goal outing. Espar's one goal for Spain gave the Spanish team a 6-5 lead on the Americans in the third. Craig's fourth would come just later to take Team USA ahead 7-6 at the end of the third on the way to a wild fourth frame and a final 9-9 finish. Anae, Craig and Wenger will next cap up for Team USA against China at 11:40 a.m. on Aug. 3 in an important match to keep atop the Group A standings.
As it stands now, Spain and the United States both have three points in Group A, followed by Hungary with two and China winless so far. With two wins, Russia has four points in Group B entering a big face-off with fellow group leader Australia. Italy, meanwhile, is looking for its first win when it takes on winless host Great Britain next.
In all, USC has three Cutino Award winners, two MPSF Players of the Year and two current Women of Troy competing in the Olympic Games on the women's water polo side. And with three Trojans on the men's side, USC leads all university with 10 athletes playing Olympic water polo in London.
Follow USC's Trojan Olympians in London as they continue their medal pursuits 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, Tumua 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.
ANIKO PELLE Italy women's water polo
USC's all-time leading scorer, Aniko Pelle 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.
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.
ANNI ESPAR Spain women's water polo
First-time Olympian Anni Espar has signed on to join the Women of Troy as a freshman this coming season.