Armstrong the savior as US women reach water polo semis
As the American goalkeeper batted yet another Italian shot away, the chants of her name rang out in a packed Olympic water polo arena: ‘‘Armstrong! Armstrong!’’
Betsey Armstrong racked up 13 saves and Melissa Seidemann scored three goals to power the US past Italy, 9-6, on Sunday and into the women’s water polo semifinals in London.
Just three minutes in, it looked as though the Italians might run away with the game as the 2012 European champions nabbed two quick scores.
But Armstrong buckled down and Seidemann and the rest of the US attack warmed up, fueling a 6-1 run to close the first half with a 6-3 lead.
With Armstrong putting on the show she did, that lead was never in doubt.
‘‘Earlier in this tournament, we were obviously struggling a little bit defensively,” she said. ‘‘Tonight we were just tight everywhere, and that makes my job easier.’’
The win put the US in a semifinal Tuesday with fellow gold medal favorite Australia, a rematch of the semifinals from Beijing. The Americans won that game, 9-8.
The Australians survived a scare in their quarterfinal, beating China, 20-18, in a shootout. Hungary and Spain also booked spots in the semis.
Destinee Hooker scored 19 points and the undefeated US women’s team wrapped up preliminary play with a straight-set victory over Turkey (27-25, 25-16, 25-19). The top-ranked Americans clinched the the top seed in their pool for Tuesday’s quarterfinals, in which they will play the Dominican Republic.
US captain Lindsey Berg appeared to injure her left ankle in the third set. The three-time Olympian said she didn’t think the injury was serious.
Ninth-ranked Russia clinched the top spot in its pool with a five-set victory over Italy.
Women’s boxing made its long-awaited Olympic debut with 12 entertaining bouts. Queen Underwood was the only American to hit the ring, and lost a close lightweight fight to Britain’s Natasha Jones.
The men’s competition featured a series of unsightly heavyweight fights. Teymur Mammadov of Azerbaijan and Clemente Russo of Italy both clutched, grabbed, and held their way through their quarterfinal bouts, yet won narrow scoring decisions. Both of their opponents protested the decisions, which were upheld by AIBA.
Bantamweight Luke Campbell clinched the dominant British team’s first medal of the competition, riding the crowd’s support to a 16-15 victory over Bulgaria’s Detelin Dalakliev. Top-seeded heavyweight Oleksandr Usyk secured the powerful Ukrainian team’s first medal with a 17-13 decision over Artur Beterbiev of Russia.
Natalie Ishchenko and Svetlana Romashina of Russia scored 98.200 points in the duet technical routine to take the first-day lead over China’s Huang Xuechen and Liu Ou (second at 96.100) and Spain’s Ona Carbonell Ballestero and Fuentes Fache (third at 96.000).
The US duo of Mary Killman and Mariya Koroleva were 10th at 87.900.
The technical scores will be added to the marks from Monday’s free routine, with the top 12 teams advancing to the final on Tuesday.
Saudi Arabia led the team show jumping competition after a first day dominated by a veterinarian’s decision to disqualify a Canadian horse.
The Saudis had just 1 penalty point and were followed closely by the Netherlands, Britain, Sweden, and Switzerland, all with 4 penalty points and tied for second.
Canadian horse Victor, ridden by Tiffany Foster, was disqualified by competition veterinarians for hypersensitivity in the left front leg. It left Canada without a drop score in the competition where the best three scores out of four riders count.
Jason Kenny of Britain and rival Gregory Bauge of France both breezed through the quarterfinals of the men’s sprint event. Shane Perkins of Australia and Nijsane Nicholas Phillip of Trinidad and Tobago also advanced.
Britain’s Victoria Pendleton, the gold medalist in the keirin, qualified first in the women’s sprint, and then ripped through her first two match races. Anna Meares of Australia also had no trouble advancing into the quarterfinals.
The Netherlands became the first men’s team to qualify for the medal round, beating Germany, 3-1, in Teun de Nooijer’s 450th match for the Dutch.
Australia’s Michael Diamond was the leader with 75 points after the first day of qualification for men’s trap, with five shooters tied at 74.
Katarina Bulatovic (seven goals) and Montenegro squeezed into the women’s quarterfinals when it tied Russia, 25-25, and Angola lost to Brazil, 29-26.
China’s top-seeded men’s team of Ma Long, Wang Hao, and Zhang Jike were 3-0, 3-0, 3-0 victors over the Singapore entry in the doubles quarterfinals. The third-seeded team from Japan was eliminated.