Team USA's Trojans Tumua Anae, Kami Craig and Lauren Wenger claim Olympic gold.
Aug. 9, 2012
USC's medal count was guaranteed to balloon by at least four today, thanks to a solid Trojan contingent in the Olympic women's water polo final. In the end, it was Team USA's Trojan trio of Tumua Anae, Kami Craig and Lauren Wenger who were adorned in gold, after an 8-5 win over Spain and incoming Trojan freshman Anni Espar. The U.S. gold was the first-ever for the United States, who is the only team to medal in every Olympic Games.
A powerful scorer for first-time Olympians Spain, Espar again as effective, scoring two goals in the match to finish her first Games with 15 total goals. But it was the overall power of Team USA that won the day, behind an impressive showing from Kami Craig at two-meters and more all-around skill from Wenger, who have now added 2012 gold to the silver medals earned in 2008. Anae did not play in this one, but the U.S. backup goalie was certainly deserving of her place at the top of the podium tonight in London.
In the bronze-medal game, USC junior goalieFlora Bolonyai again represented Hungary part-time in the cage. The match was a nail-biter, running into overtime before Australia pulled away to take bronze.
In the fifth-place game, USC grad and four-time Olympian for Russia, Sofia Konoukh, came up short of China in a high-powered 16-15 loss. Meanwhile, USC grad Aniko Pelle scored her first Olympic goal of 2012 with Italy in an 11-7 win in the fifth-place game vs. Great Britain.
Follow all the Trojans in their pursuit 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, 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.