For the second straight night Canada fell by a large score margin, this time 22-7 to the Russian Federation in the bronze medal game of the 2019 FISU Summer Universiade at Piscina Scandone in Naples. The fourth-placed Canadians held their heads high and will leave Italy with a 4-3 record through the 12-day tournament.
Russia’s Polina Kempf was lethal in the pool, scoring eight goals in the win, while Valeria Rojas scored a hat-trick for Canada. Canada was just 7-for-23 in their scoring attempts, while Russia shot 55 per cent and had 13 steals.
“We are very disappointed because this was a medal game, so we came in thinking and hoping for the best which was the plan, but we didn’t show up today,” said Canadian head coach Cyril Dorgigné. “It was a great experience overall for both the staff and the players. We had a pretty good round-robin...and a tough quarter-final against the USA and it doesn’t happen very often that we beat them. The girls showed up and it was a fantastic win but now when we have that win you want more.”
“We met for the first time here in Naples with two days to (train). It was a very short preparation so we are pretty happy overall with finishing fourth. It is a good result.”
The Russian Federation wasted no time showing their dominance, scoring four goals in less than four minutes to start the first quarter. Canada barely mustered a shot and constant pressure forced Canada to turn the ball over more often than not. Rojas scored her ninth goal of the tournament to break Russia’s scoring strides, but it didn’t stop them for long as Russia netted three more goals for a 7-1 lead entering the first break.
In the second quarter, Russia again scored early as Kempf and Anastasiia Diachenko each tallied to keep the Canadians chasing an eight-goal differential. Canadian captain Alex Massier was hauled under by three defenders in front of the Russian goal, putting teammate Myriam Lizotte at the line for a penalty. Lizotte skipped the shot into the bottom corner to salvage a second goal for Canada, now down 9-2. Despite the score margin, Kelsey Jensen came in off the bench to provide some key saves in goal for Canada, who trailed 10-2 at halftime.
Canada was outscored 7-4 in the third quarter but did find the back of the net through Canadians Daphné Guèvremont, Floranne Carroll, Ava Morrant and Rojas. Kempf scored her eighth goal of the game to give Russia a 17-6 lead at the end of the third.
The fourth was much of the same, as Russia out-scored Canada 5-1 and Rojas scored her third goal of the game. The Canadians continued to show their level of compete until the final whistle with Russia on top 22-7.
“We had a very good goaltending (performance) by Rachael and Kelsey through the entire tournament which helps in those big games we had to win,” highlighted Dorgigné about his netminders Rachael Jaffe and Kelsey Jensen. “We had a very young team with eight juniors who are only starting their preparation for the Junior Worlds in September, so this is a great experience for them starting the summer season. Now we know what to work on and what to expect for Junior Worlds.”
This is the third time Canada has finished fourth at the Summer Universiade. Canada’s best finish at these Games was a silver medal in 2015, while they finished fourth in 2013 and 2009, fifth in 2017 and sixth in 2011.