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U.S. Women Top Australia, 10-9, in Water Polo

October 22, 1987|RICK HAZELTINE

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

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

All the games in the series have been decided by one goal, and the final goal in each match has been scored with 40 or seconds or fewer 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, the youngest player on the U.S. team at 17. Drury, who missed two shots in the first half, scored the first two goals of the period for the U.S. team.

"It's real important that a young player can play against the defending world champions and come back from missing two shots and make two in pressure situations," U.S. Coach Sandy Nitta said. "She could just as easily have crawled into a shell and not taken a shot."

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