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Sun Devils shine at 14th FINA World Water Polo Championships

August 01, 2011

Four women with ties to the Arizona State University water polo program recently completed competition at the 14th FINA World Championships in Shanghai, China, with three of those players leading the way in scoring for their respective nations in the 16-team event. Overall, those same three women finished the tournament ranked among the Top 20 in overall goals scored as well.

Former Sun Devil Rowie Webster helped Australia to a fifth-place finish while Rita Keszthelyi, who signed a National Letter of Intent with ASU recently, helped her native Hungary to a ninth-place showing. Recent Sun Devil graduate Sarah Harris and her ASU teammate of two years, Kelsey White, represented South Africa, who placed 15th. Individually, Keszthelyi tallied 17 goals in six games and tied for the fifth-most in the tournament while Webster’s 16 goals in seven games ranked in a tie for eighth. Harris also made the Top 20 list as her 13 goals in five games was good enough to tie for the 17th-most overall.

Webster, who played one season for the Sun Devils (2006), helped the Aussies to a fifth place overall as she scored at least one goal in all seven games, including four each in wins over Uzbekistan in group play (27-2) and Hungary in the quarterfinal qualification game (10-9). Webster’s fourth goal against Hungary came with 3:06 remaining in the game and proved to be the difference maker as Keszthelyi scored with 12 seconds remaining to make it 10-9. A starter in the first five games of the tournament, Webster scored one goal against the U.S. to help Australia to a 10-5 win and fifth place.

Keszthelyi, like Webster, was the top scorer for her side and netted at least two goals in each of the six contests. She wasted little time getting into the tournament as she scored five goals Hungary’s 21-6 win over Kazakhstan in the first group game. The team went on to finish third in the group with a loss to the U.S. (16-7) and a tie with the Netherlands (9-9). Keszthelyi scored the tying goal against the Netherlands with 1:14 remaining. After a close 10-9 loss to Australia in the quarterfinal qualification round, Hungary won its next two games with Keszthelyi netting four goals in a 17-13 win over Spain and then adding two more goals in a 12-7 defeat of Cuba for ninth place.

For the second Championships in a row, Harris was South Africa’s top scorer as she scored at least one goal in each of the five games played, including a five-goal performance against Cuba and a four-goal showing against Brazil. White also was in on the scoring as she scored four goals in the tournament, including two each against China ad Brazil. Both women nearly carried their team past Brazil as Harris scored twice in the fourth and was unlucky in hitting the post as time expired in the 10-9 loss while White scored the ninth goal with 1:03 remaining to give their team a chance. Harris did, however, bounce back and score her second of the game against Uzbekistan with 3:39 remaining to make it 6-4 before helping the team hold off their foes for an eventual 6-5 win, South Africa’s first-ever win in the World Championships.

Overall, two of the teams finished ahead of their placements from the 2009 event in Rome as Australia was sixth and South Africa 16th while Hungary finished behind it’s 2009 showing where it was seventh. That year, Harris was top scorer for RSA as she netted eight goals in the five games that made up her nation’s first trip to the world championships. Keszthelyi also played in 2009 and netted four goals in six games for Hungary and Webster was Australia’s top scorer with 10 goals in six games.

Four others with ties to ASU were in the 2009 event as well, marking the first time Sun Devil water polo was represented at the world championships. That year, Mariam Salloum (two goals) and Germany finished 10th overall while Lynlee Smith (seven goals) and former Sun Devil Dana Harvey (one save) played for New Zealand, who was coached by current ASU head coach Todd Clapper, as their team finished in 12th place overall.

Final results and statistics can be found on the web site:

14th FINA World Championships - Shanghai, China
Sun Devils that Played
South Africa (2): Sarah Harris, Kelsey White
Australia (1): Rowie Webster
Hungary (1): Rita Keszthelyi

2011 Results
Hungary (3-2-1 / 9th overall / 3rd in Group A)
7/17 (group game): Hungary def. Kazakhstan, 21-6 / Keszthelyi (started, 5G-0A=5P)
7/19 (group game): USA def. Hungary, 16-7 / Keszthelyi (started, 2G-2A=4P)
7/21 (group game): Hungary tied Netherlands, 9-9 / Keszthelyi (started, 2G-0A=2P)
Hungary finishes third in Group A
7/23 (quarter qual): Australia def. Hungary, 10-9 / Keszthelyi (started, 2G-0A=2P)
7/25 (9th-10th semi): Hungary def. Spain, 17-13 / Keszthelyi (started, 4G-1A=5P)
7/27 (9th place game): Hungary def. Cuba, 12-7 / Keszthelyi (started, 2G-1A=3P)
Hungary places ninth overall / Keszthelyi finished with 17G-4A=21P

Australia (5-2-0 / 5th overall / 2nd in Group B)
7/17 (group game): Canada def. Australia, 10-7 / Webster (started, 2G-0A=2P)
7/19 (group game): Australia def. New Zealand, 12-4 / Webster (started, 2G-0A=2P)
7/21 (group game): Australia def. Uzbekistan, 27-2 / Webster (started, 4G-2A=6P)
Australia finishes second in Group B
7/23 (quarter qual): Australia def. Hungary, 10-9 / Webster (started, 4G-0A=4P)
7/25 (quarterfinal): Italy def. Australia, 14-12 / Webster (started, 2G-0A=2P)
7/27 (5th-8th semi): Australia def. Netherlands, 12-7 / Webster (1G-1A=2P)
7/29 (5th place gm): Australia def. USA, 10-5 / Webster (1G-0A=1P)
Australia places fifth overall / Webster finished with 16G-3A=19P

South Africa (1-3-1 / 15th overall / 4th in Group D)
7/17 (group game): China def. South Africa, 22-5 / Harris (started, 1G-0A=1P) & White (started, 2G-0A=2P)
7/19 (group game): Italy def. South Africa, 18-2 / Harris (started, 1G-1A=2P) & White (started, 0G-0A=0P)
7/21 (group game): South Africa tied Cuba, 9-9 / Harris (started, 5G-2A=7P) & White (started, 0G-1A=1P)
South Africa finishes fourth in Group D
7/23 (13th-15th semi): Brazil def. South Africa, 10-9 / Harris (started, 4G-1A=5P) & White (started, 2G-1A=3P)
7/25 (15th place gm): South Africa def. Uzbekistan, 6-5 / Harris (started, 2G-0A=2P) & White (started, 0G-1A=1P)
South Africa places 15th overall / Harris finished with 13G-4A=17P & White finished with 4G-3A=7P

2011 Final Standings
1. Greece
2. China
3. Russia
4. Italy
5. Australia (Webster)
6. USA
7. Netherlands
8. Canada
9. Hungary (Keszthelyi)
10. Cuba
11. Spain
12. New Zealand
13. Kazakhstan
14. Brazil
15. South Africa (Harris, White)
16. Uzbekistan

All-Time Sun Devils in the FINA World Championships
14th World Championships (2011) - Shanghai, China
Sarah Harris, South Africa (5-5 / 13-4=17)
Rita Keszthelyi, Hungary (6-6 / 17-4=21)
Rowie Webster, Australia (7-5 / 16-3=19)
Kelsey White, South Africa (5-5 / 4-3=7)
Team finishes: Australia 5th • Hungary 9th • South Africa 15th

13th World Championships (2009) - Rome, Italy
Todd Clapper, New Zealand (women’s head coach)
Sarah Harris, South Africa (5-5 / 8-0=8)
Dana Harvey, New Zealand (3-0 / 1-10)
Rita Keszthelyi, Hungary (6-2 / 4-1=5)
Mariam Salloum, Germany (6-0 / 2-1=3)
Lynlee Smith, New Zealand (6-1 / 7-3=10)
Rowie Webster, Australia (6-4 / 10-2=12)
Team Finishes: Australia 6th • Hungary 7th • Germany 10th • New Zealand 12th • South Africa 16th

Todd Clapper, New Zealand (2009) • head coach
Sarah Harris, South Africa (2009, 2011) • 10-10 / 21-4=25
Dana Harvey, New Zealand (2009) • 3-0 / 1-10
Rita Keszthelyi, Hungary (2009, 2011) • 12-8 / 21-5=26
Mariam Salloum, Germany (2009) • 6-0 / 2-1=3
Lynlee Smith, New Zealand (2009) • 6-1 / 7-3=10
Rowie Webster, Australia (2009, 2011) • 13-9 / 26-5=31
Kelsey White, South Africa (2009) • 5-5 / 4-3=7

Stats (GP-GS / G-A=P) or (GP-GS / SV-MP)
Games played-started / goals-assists=points / saves-minutes played