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Baker Lifts U.S. Women in Water Polo

October 22, 1987|RICK HAZELTINE

As the match wore down, so did the nerves of Laura Baker, a U.S. women's water polo player.

"I was scared," Baker said. "I knew we had only 19 seconds. I couldn't have waited much longer."

With three seconds remaining, Baker, who was an All-American swimmer at San Diego State, made good on her only shot of the match to give the United States a 10-9 victory over defending world champion Australia in an exhibition match at UC San Diego's Canyon View Pool Wednesday night.

The victory tied the series with Australia at 2-2-1. The final match of the series will be at 8 tonight at Irvine's Heritage Park. It will be the final international match for the Americans until the Paris Open in August 1988.

The series has been close. All of the games have been decided by one goal, and the final goal in each match has been scored with 40 or fewer seconds remaining.

Wednesday night's match was no exception. Australia had the biggest advantage, leading 6-4 early in the third quarter.

The Americans rallied to tie the match, 6-6, late in the third quarter on two goals by Maureen Mendoza.

In the fourth quarter, the United States was led by Amber Drury, at 17, the youngest player on the U.S. team. Drury, who missed two shots in the first half when the United States had a player advantage, scored the Americans' first two goals of the final period.

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