Medals For All! Trojans Fill Podium At FINA World Championships
Aug. 2, 2013
It was a USC reunion of sorts on the medal podium tonight in Barcelona, Spain. Four Trojans representing three different countries at the 2013 FINA World Championships all earned medals today. Goalie Flora Bolonyai will bring home bronze as today's big winner with Hungary, while the gold-medal match featured Trojan teammates from Spain and Australia facing off for top honors. When the waves settled, the hometown heroes of Spain -- including young Trojan Anni Espar -- had claimed their first-ever World Championship gold medal. Spain beat Australia -- featuring Trojans Jayde Appel and Hannah Buckling -- in the final to give the Aussies the silver.
All-American Anni Espar -- who served up the game-winning goal for USC in her freshman season to net the Trojans the 2013 NCAA Championship -- handed out two key early assists on Spain goals in tonight's gold-medal match. Espar's performance helped Spain outpace Australia down the stretch en route to an 8-6 victory that adds World Championship gold to Espar's medal collection that already includes Olympic silver. Trojan Aussies Appel and Buckling came up against a tough Spanish defense tonight, but Australia does have a hard-earned silver medal for its powerful performance in Barcelona.
Three-time All-American Flora Bolonyai tapped into her NCAA Championship game dominance for today's bronze-medal match in Barcelona. Her Hungary team pulled out of a two-goal hole early on to hold even with Russia 3-3 after one period of play. Bolonyai would rattle off 14 saves in the next three frames to anchor Hungary to victory and earn the bronze medal. A 2012 Olympian, Bolonyai's last international medal was a silver medal at the 2011 Junior World Championships. Bolonyai was the NCAA Tournament MVP this past season after serving up 17 saves for the Women of Troy in a triple sudden-death overtime win over Stanford in the 2013 NCAA Championship game.
Appel, Buckling, Bolonyai and Espar are all due to return to Troy next season to team back up for the defending NCAA champs.
Also in action on this final day of women's competition were some former Women of Troy. Finishing in fifth place with a win decided by penalty shots today was the United States, which boast two Trojan NCAA champs in Tumua Anae and Kami Craig. Current Trojan Kelly Mendoza was an alternate on the Team USA squad for this competition. Former USC goalie Ilse van der Meijden helped the Netherlands to a seventh-place finish with today's 12-9 win over Canada. Former Trojan and another NCAA champion Joelle Bekhazi scored twice for the Canadians in that game.
For more information and full results, visit www.bcn2013.com