ALBERTA

Canada's men's and women's water polo teams qualify for world championships

02/03/2013 12:30 EST | Updated 04/04/2013 05:12 EDT
CALGARY - Justin Boyd scored the winning goal on a penalty shot in overtime as Canada's men's water polo team defeated Brazil 7-6 in a semifinal Saturday to earn a berth for the 2013 FINA World Aquatic Championships at a qualifying event.

The Canadian women also gained a spot for the worlds after hammering Venezuela 22-7 in their semifinal.

The top-two teams at this week's tournament, in both men's and women's play, were guaranteed a berth for the world championships set for Barcelona in July.

The Canada-Brazil semi was much closer than anticipated. Canada sailed to a 3-0 record in the round robin including a 14-7 victory over Brazil on Friday while the Brazilians were winless.

"We played all phases of the game solid except for finishing our plays, and that's pretty important," said veteran Kevin Graham of Regina. "But we never gave up and we kept talking to each other throughout the game. Brazil is a fighting team and we knew they would be better tonight. But we got our spot for the worlds and that was the goal."

The United States gained the second worlds spot defeating Argentina 15-8. Canada faces the Americans in the men's final Sunday.

In women's play, Canada continued to be an offensive powerhouse against the Venezuelans. Krystina Alogbo of Riviere-des-Prairies, Que., and Joelle Bekhazi of Pointe-Claire, Que., scored five goals apiece.

Hayley McKelvey of Delta, B.C., Stephanie Valin of Montreal, and Christine Robinson of Lachine, Que., added three each, with singles to Emma Wright of Toronto, Rachel Krieger of Regina, and Carmen Eggens of Pitt Meadows, B.C.

"It's a very exciting win," said goaltender Ymane Hage of Montreal. "I was feeling a bit nervous because it was the biggest game I had ever played for the national team. Our offence continued to be dominant and we scored a lot of spectacular goals."

Canada will meet Brazil in the tournament final Sunday after the Brazilians advanced past Argentina 13-6 in the other semi.

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