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Canada advances to women's water polo quarterfinals

Water Polo Canada Water Polo Canada - The Canadian Press

FUKUOKA, Japan — The Canadian women's water polo team advanced to the quarterfinals at the FINA World Aquatics Championships with a 21-6 win over South Africa in Round-of-16 action Saturday.

Canada will play the Netherlands in the next round.

Emma Wright of Whitby, Ont., was named player of the game with four goals, while Toronto's Verica Bakoc and Montreal's Elyse Lemay-Lavoie each scored three.

"It was definitely a team game, we worked hard together," said Wright. "We wanted to come out strong and we were able to do that. That was really important to us moving into the next game against the Netherlands.

"We know that's going to be a tough game, we know the Netherlands has a really strong team."

Marilia Mimides, Regina's Blaire McDowell, Hayley McKelvey of North Delta., B.C., Serena Browne of Pointe-Claire, Que., and Kindred Paul of Spruce Grove, Alta., all scored twice.

Montreal's Axelle Crevier added a single.

The Canadian women took an early commanding lead, outscoring South Africa 6-1 in the opening quarter en route to the convincing victory.

At last year's world championships, Canada lost to the Netherlands in a playoff before the quarterfinals.

"It's going to be a battle," said Canada coach David Paradelo. "The Dutch have a great team."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 22, 2023.