Betsey Armstrong makes 6 saves in U.S. water polo win, Michael Phelps goes out in style and more Friday results
LONDON (AP) — Maggie Steffens scored three goals, Huron High School graduate Betsey Armstrong made six saves and the U.S. women's water polo beat China 7-6 in their final preliminary-stage game to remain undefeated at the London Olympics.
China used a power play goal and a penalty shot to take a 3-1 lead with 3:31 left in the second quarter. The U.S. scored the next five goals, however, to lead 6-3 early in the fourth quarter.
Armstrong stopped a last second, full-tank shot at the horn to preserve the victory.
"We messed up a lot in the beginning of the match and missed many opportunities," coach Adam Krikorian told USA Water Polo. "But it is important that we found some momentum and we became much better offensively in the second half."
The U.S. (2-0-1) finished the preliminary round even with Spain (2-0-1) at the top of Group A with five points, but Spain earned the top spot because of the tiebreaker, making the Americans the group's second-seeded team for the knockout stage.
The U.S. will play 2012 European champion Italy in Sunday's quarterfinals.
China finished the group stage winless and will play Group B winner Australia in the quarterfinals.
Seventh at the turn, an Olympic champion at the end. Make it 17 gold medals for Michael Phelps.
What a way to go out in the final individual race of his career.
Phelps was next-to-last when he touched the wall at the far end of the pool in the 100-meter butterfly but in a familiar position when he made the touch that counted Friday — his name atop the leaderboard, a smile on his face, another gold medal around his neck.
"I'm just happy that the last one was a win," Phelps said. "That's all I really wanted coming into the night."
The former Michigan volunteer assistant coach and Club Wolverine member claimed his third gold of the London Games and 17th of his career, adding to an already absurd record total that should be twice as much as anyone else by the time he swims the final race of his career, the 4x100 medley relay Saturday night.
The Americans are huge favorites in a race they have never lost, and it's unfathomable to think the Phelps era could end with anything less than a performance that puts him atop the podium one last time.
Willis, Brannen advance in 1,500
Former Michigan teammates Nick Willis (New Zealand) and Nate Brannen (Canada) both qualified for the semifinal of the 1,500-meter run.
Willis, who ran at Michigan from 2003-05, won the third preliminary heat in a time of 3 minutes, 40.92 seconds. Brannen, a Michigan letterwinner in 2002-05, ran a faster time (3:39.95), but finished fifth in the second heat. The top six runners from each of three heats on Friday advanced to Sunday’s semifinals.
Willis, who was born and raised in Lower Hutt, New Zealand and now resides in Ann Arbor, told reporters the slower heat means good things for the semifinal round.
“My legs lacked zip but they will be better for the blowout,” he said, according to stuff.co.nz.
Alejandro qualifies for 400 hurdles semis
Eric Alejandro, one of two former Eastern Michigan track stars competing in the Olympics, had the 20th-fastest time in the 400-meter hurdles prelims. That earned Alejandro - who is representing Puerto Rico - a spot in the semifinals, which will be run at 2 p.m. Saturday.
Another former Eagle, U.S. high jumper Jamie Nieto, kicks off his Olympics with Sunday’s qualifying round.