From The Gazette

Pointe-Claire

Pointe Claire swimmer leads Canada’s women’s water polo team to world championship berth

  • Joelle Bekhazi (in white cap) and Katie Monton. Bekhazi had five goals.
    Joelle Bekhazi (in white cap) and Katie Monton. Bekhazi had five goals.
    Photo credit: Gazette file photo

Canada’s women’s water polo team continued to be an offensive powerhouse, earning a berth for the 2013 FINA World Aquatic Championships with a 22-7 win over Venezuela at a qualifying event semifinal on Saturday.

They join the men’s team, which also earned a championship berth with a dramatic 7-6 overtime win over Brazil in their semifinal. The top-two teams at this week’s tournament, in both men’s and women’s play, were guaranteed a berth for the world championships set for Barcelona in July.

Krystina Alogbo of Rivière des Prairies and Joelle Bekhazi of Pointe Claire scored five goals apiece.

Hayley McKelvey of Delta, B.C., Stephanie Valin of Montreal, and Christine Robinson of Lachine added three each, with singles to Emma Wright of Toronto, Rachel Krieger of Regina, and Carmen Eggens of Pitt Meadows, B.C.

“It’s a very exciting win,” said goaltender Ymane Hage of Montreal. “I was feeling a bit nervous because it was the biggest game I had ever played for the national team. Our offence continued to be dominant and we scored a lot of spectacular goals.”

Canada will meet Brazil in the tournament final Sunday after the Brazilians advanced past Argentina 13-6 in the other semi.

On the men’s side, Justin Boyd scored the winning goal on a penalty shot in overtime for the win over Brazil.

The Canada-Brazil semi was much closer than anticipated. Canada sailed to a 3-0 record in the round robin including a 14-7 victory over Brazil on Friday while the Brazilians were winless.

“We played all phases of the game solid except for finishing our plays, and that’s pretty important,” said veteran Kevin Graham of Regina. “But we never gave up and we kept talking to each other throughout the game. Brazil is a fighting team and we knew they would be better tonight. But we got our spot for the worlds and that was the goal.”

The United States gained the second worlds spot defeating Argentina 15-8. Canada faces the Americans in the men’s final Sunday.

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