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U.S. women's water polo team finishes sweep

Anae ends game in goal as American women win final exhibition game before London.

July 08, 2012|By Matt Szabo

Late in the second quarter, Team USA's Melissa Seidemann and Hungary's Barbara Bujka got tangled up in the U.S. back court. Both Seidemann and Bujka were eventually issued game misconduct penalties and ejected.

Anae, who played all of Wednesday's 14-8 victory over Hungary in Los Alamitos and the second half of Friday's game, made one save on Sunday for Team USA. It came with just less than two minutes to go.

"A perfect game, right?" she said with a smile. "Fortunately, I've gotten some playing time, so it was good. For me, I think it's about confidence, about experience. It's really nice to get in there and be able to beat this [Hungarian] team, which is such an offensive team. It's good to get in there and get some blocks."

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Team USA, trying to win the first gold medal in team history after capturing silver in Beijing in 2008, will continue training for the London Olympics before leaving on July 22. First comes that time with "Coach K." Krikorian is looking forward to it.

"Similar to us, just like they were in '08, [U.S. men's basketball is] the favorites or one of the favorites," Krikorian said. "There's probably a lot of pressure on them. I know they pride themselves on the way they play defense, just like we do ... I've always been a big admirer of 'Coach K.' I grew up kind of idolizing John Wooden. Obviously with my history, and my connections [as UCLA coach], I got to know him fairly well.

"I know 'Coach K' would be the first to say there will never be another Coach Wooden, but he's almost a miniature Coach Wooden, or a younger Coach Wooden. A lot of their values are the same, as coaches. I think for me, even if I get to spend two minutes with him, it will be a special time. We both have last names that start with 'K' and are hard to pronounce."

Many fans root against Krzyzewski's Duke teams. The reception has been much better for Team USA on this four-game California series against Hungary.

Rulon, a veteran who will be playing in her second Olympics, said she is confident the team can accomplish big things in England.

"I'm happy with where we are now," she said. "We have, what, two weeks before we head off, so we have a little fine-tuning to do. But if it was tomorrow, I wouldn't have any doubts. If it was a month from tomorrow, I still wouldn't have any doubts. This team brings it."

matthew.szabo@latimes.com

Twitter: @mjszabo

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