Promising lead squandered

MONTREAL – Canada sent the home crowd into a frenzy and the United States stayed on track for another world championship in women’s water polo. Cheered on by 5,000 fans packing the temporary venue in Parc Jean-Drapeau, the Canadians rallied Monday for an 8-6 overtime victory over Greece in the quarterfinals of the World Swimming Championships. Greece, runner-up at the Athens Olympics, dropped into a pool with Italy, Hungary and Australia. Those teams will play off to determine fifth through eighth place. The USA, which won the 2003 title in Barcelona, moved into the semifinals by beating Australia 8-5. The Americans built a 3-0 lead and led by at least two the rest of the way. Russia knocked off Olympic gold medalist Italy 7-5, and Hungary beat Germany 10-4. Canada will meet Hungary in today’s semifinals, while the USA faces Russia. Against Greece, the Canadians fell behind 5-1 in the second quarter, but eventually equalized with a goal from Valerie Dionne four minutes and 16 seconds before time. Then, in overtime, captain Ann Dow scored her second goal to put the home team ahead, and Susan Gardiner’s second goal with just 41 seconds remaining clinched it. «At 5-1, I told them to start a new match,» Canadian coach Patrick Oaten said. Goalie Rachel Riddle kept Canada in the game with nine saves. When the horn sounded, ecstatic fans waved the Maple Leaf flag, unfurled banners and saluted their team with a raucous celebration. «Thanks to the fans for not giving up on us,» Canada’s Marie-Luc Arpin said. Eftychia Karayianni led Greece with three goals. Brenda Villa scored three times to lead the Americans, who took bronze at the Athens Olympics. Moriah Van Norman sealed the victory with 2:24 remaining when she got loose behind a defender and flipped a shot over the head of Australian goalie Alicia McCormack, who stopped only two of 10 shots. Maria Yaina scored four goals and Russia rallied from an early 2-0 deficit against Italy. The Russians went ahead for good at 5-4 on captain Sofya Konukh’s second goal with 1:57 remaining. Yaina won it with just four seconds left, converting a penalty shot. The Hungarians, seeking to match the dominance of their men’s program, got three goals apiece from Rita Dravucz and Aniko Pelle. Germany fell behind 6-2 at halftime and never seriously challenged. Also Monday, Uzbekistan defeated China 5-4 in the 15th-place game, while Brazil took 13th place with an 11-2 rout of Venezuela. The Netherlands defeated Spain 4-3 and moved on to play for ninth place against Cuba, a 5-4 winner over New Zealand. Spain and New Zealand were due to meet in the 11th-place game.

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