Aug. 18, 2004
ATHENS - Loyola Marymount University women's water polo goalie Rachel Riddell was given an opportunity of a lifetime against some familiar foes on Wednesday and she made the most of it. The 2003 AWPCA All-American helped Canada to a 6-5 come-from-behind victory over the favored United States in Group B play on Wednesday.
Playing against a U.S. team made of many collegiate players Riddell plays or has played against while at LMU, she seemed to be at her best in her first start as an Olympian. The sophomore from West Vancouver, B.C., finished with seven saves, outdoing U.S. counterpart Jackie Frank who had six. The goalies went head-to-head in the 2003 NCAA Championships as Frank started for Stanford and Riddell for the Lions.
Riddell and Frank held both opposing offenses in check as they struggled to find the back of the net in the first half. Team USA finally put the ball passed Riddell 1:08 before halftime. Despite the solid play in net, the U.S. would score three more goals in the third to go up 4-0 late in the period. It wasn't until five seconds remained in the third quarter that Canada would get on the board.
After the U.S. would go back up by four goals just a minute into the final period, the Canadians bounced back from a dismal first three quarters to rack up five unanswered scores in the fourth, including Johanne Begin's go-ahead goal with fifty seconds remaining.
It was a reversal of fortune for the Canadians, who suffered a similar result four years ago against Team USA. At the 2000 Games, the U.S. scored three goals in the closing minutes against Canada to squeeze out a tie. This time, it was Canada who staged the comeback, edging out a tired-looking U.S. squad 6-5 at the Olympic Aquatic Centre Wednesday thanks in large part to Riddell.
Also playing four minutes in the game was LMU freshman Christine Robinson for Team Canada. Robinson scored a goal in the Canadians first game of the Olympics but did not have a shot against the U.S.
The U.S. fell to 1-1 with the loss, while Canada, which lost its first match to Russia, improved to 1-1. The Canadians will play Hungary in the final game of Group play on Friday.
Riddell and Robinson are two of the three LMU student-athletes in the 2004 Olympics. The other is 2000 graduate Reid Priddy, who stars for the men's volleyball team. Follow all the LMU athletes on the Olympic page on the LMU website.
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