Goalie Kelsey Jensen’s performance propelled Canada’s water polo team to its second victory, 8-1 over France, in Pool A play at the 2019 Summer Universiade at Casoria Community Pool on Friday.
A second victory leaves Canada in good position to move in to the top three in their pool and avoid an extra cross-over game.
“Same as our first game, we kind of slowed down (in the second half) and lost a bit of concentration but because this team is slower than the Japanese we weren’t hurt as much on the counter-attack, it just affected our offence,” said Canadian head coach Cyril Dorgigné, whose team had eight different scorers in their 12-10 win over Japan and seven different scorers against France.
“It’s a great group though because I can switch five for five and we can maintain the same level of performance. We have three lefties which is a big chance for us to look after our right side and we have two very good centres, two good goalies and we are pretty well armed for the rest of the competition.”
Canada came out of the gate strong as Ava Morant buried a shot in the first minute of the game, while France struggled to match Canada’s quick passing. Peggy Jean Allin made a quick pass across the pool to Blaire McDowell, who found Floranne Carroll right in front of the net. Carroll turned and fired to make it 2-0 for Canada. Jensen was exceptional goal, turning away every shot from France. Jensen made a big stop late in the quarter and sprung Allin on the counter-attack with an open lane to goal. Allin made no mistake to send Canada in to the second quarter with a 3-0 lead.
In the second, Verica Bakoc set up Myriam Lizotte for a 4-0 lead, while Jensen continued to show her brilliance in goal. Jensen blocked a quick shot from France’s Laurine Bacquet to keep Canada’s momentum rolling. France finally found a way past Jensen from Yaelle Deschampt but the Canadians were quick to rally back on a pass from Daphné Guèvremont to Erica Hardy. Hardy confidently pushed the score to 5-1 for Canada heading in to half time.
“I thought I played well but I couldn’t have done it without my teammates,” said Jensen, competing in her second FISU Summer Universiade for Canada. “They were funneling the ball in to me and it made my job a lot easier. We were playing strong all game and doing well to not let them get the ball.”
France found its defensive stride in the third quarter, holding Canada to one goal. Brianna Utas’ long-range shot ricocheted off France goalie Lorene Derenty’s hand and in. Canada led 6-1 entering the final quarter.
The Canadians added two more goals in the fourth frame, one each from Blaire McDowell and Lizotte, to leave the final score 8-1 for Canada. Jensen finished the game with 13 saves. Seven different scorers got on the sheet, with Lizotte notching two for Canada.
“Kelsey stepped up and played very well today,” added Dorgigné, noting the depth in Jensen and Toronto goalie Rachel Jaffe. “We are very lucky because Rachel played well in the first game and then Kelsey came in and had a very high level as well. It’s comforting to know that if at some point one goalie is playing a little lower, the other one can step in easily.”
Canada (2-0) has two more preliminary matches in Pool A, beginning with the Czech Republic on Sunday in Casoria at 7:30 a.m. EDT / 4:30 a.m. PDT (1:30 p.m. local) at Casoria Community Pool.