Aug. 7, 2012
LONDON - The Golden Bears are assured of adding two more medals to their 2012 count after the USA women's water polo team, featuring former Cal players Elsie Windes and Heather Petri, reached the gold-medal match with an 11-9 overtime victory over Australia in the semifinals Tuesday at the Water Polo Arena.
Through the first week of competition, the Bears earned a combined 13 medals in swimming and rowing. With Windes and Petri assured of a medal and Alex Morgan and her teammates advancing to the women's soccer final later this week, Cal is certain to claim at least 16 medals at the London Games. The school record total is 17 set at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
The women's water polo squad, having medaled three times previously but never with gold, will have another chance for a title when it plays Spain on Thursday.
Petri, the veteran of the national team as a four-time Olympian, played 16 minutes against Australia. Windes, who joined Petri for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, saw action in just over 22 minutes and had two field blocks and a steal in the semifinal match. The Americans outscored Australia, 2-0, in the overtime period.
It should be an outstanding Olympic final as Team USA is now 4-0-1 in London with victories over Hungary (14-13), China (7-6), Italy in the quarterfinals (9-6) and Australia (11-9 OT) in the semifinals. The only blemish is a 9-9 tie with Spain in pool play, which is also 4-0-1 in the tournament.
The United States has medaled in each Olympics featuring women's water polo, taking silver in 2000 in Sydney, bronze in 2004 in Athens and silver again in 2008 in Beijing when it fell to the Netherlands.
Petri lettered at Cal from 1997-99 and returned to finish her degree and eligibility in 2001. Windes had a stellar career for the Bears, earning All-America honors from 2005-07.
On Wednesday, Bears will be in action in both track & field and men's water polo. Alysia Montano runs in heat 1 of the women's 800m opening round at 3:35 a.m. PT, while John Mann and Team USA face Croatia and Aleksa Saponjic and Serbia meet Australia in the men's water polo quarterfinals.