Canada’s Youth Girls team earned a silver medal in women’s water polo during the 10-6 final game, on Saturday, at the 2013 UANA Youth Pan American Championship in Argentina. The Canadian Youth Boys team defeated the Argentinian hosts 10-6 to win the bronze medal at the conclusion of the men’s portion of the competition. The tournament was held in Buenos Aires from August 23rd to September 1st, 2013 and gathered a total of thirteen (13) squads from across the Americas and all made up of athletes under seventeen years of age (U17).
Canadian teams played at a high level in the preliminary part of the competition. Under the guidance of their head coach David Paradelo, the women earned a 4 win and 1 loss record in the prelims and secured a 2nd place ranking heading into the semi-finals on August 30. There, they successfully fought a battle against number-three-ranked Brazil to confirm their place in the Championship final against the U.S.A. on Saturday, August 31.
In the women’s final game, Canada took an initial lead 3-2 after the first period of play. The Americans reacted and reversed the advantage in their favour so that is was 5-4 by halftime. Canada was not giving up and the gap between the teams was still only a two point, 6-4, lead after the third period. Canada could however only manage an additional two goals while the Americans increased the pressure and scored four goals in the fourth, in order to take the game 10-6. In the match for the women’s bronze, Brazil won 11-8 against Puerto Rico.
“My first international tournament experience was really exciting,” said Sarah Myers, from Toronto, ON. “It was truly amazing to be here and represent Canada. “
On the men’s side, Team Canada was ranked third after the preliminary round and narrowly missed its entry in the gold medal game, losing a nail-biting 8-6 match to the U.S.A. in overtime in the semi-finals on August 30. Fighting for bronze, Canada won 10-6 against Argentina the following day.
Sean Spooner from British Columbia’s Pacific Storm and Paul Bucheff from Calgary each had 3 goals in the game. Sukhmun Hare, also from Pacific Storm, recorded 2 goals while Ontarians Colin Colterjohn, from Hamilton, and Euan Scoffield, from Ottawa, each notched single goals. Canada’s net was tended by Liam Duncan, from Calgary, who played a strong tournament despite coping with a hand injury.
“We felt like we were always in control of the game,” said team captain and Storm member Gaelan Patterson. “We set the pace, penetrated their defense and scored when we needed it most.”
Canada gladly took its place on the podium alongside champion Brazil and silver-medal winner U.S.A. “This is a well-earned win after all the hard work that the boys put in,” said Vancouver-based head coach Nikola Maric. “This game was a growth experience for our young players, who had to play in front of a boisterous hometown crowd. The team showed great character, maintained composure and controlled the game throughout.”
Nikola Maric also took a moment to thank some key contributors to the teams’ successes. “We must recognize that these medals are only possible because our teams have a great support system. On our side, we thank the technical expertise of assistant coach Daniel Tausan, the support of manager Rob Fraser and the strong leadership of Water Polo Canada’s high performance structure. We also thank our physiotherapist Dan Wilson and the whole Vancouver water polo community for helping us prepare for this important achievement.”