Veteran Lea Yanitsas, 32, put on an outstanding goalkeeping display at the Tokyo Tatsumi International Swimming Center to keep Canada from denting the Australian Stingers (women’s water polo team) lead in their tense opening Group A game of the Tokyo Olympics on Saturday.
It was the first time in two years that the Stingers had taken to the water in an international tournament and Ms Yianitsas proved to be in top form.
In the first quarter, she kept out seven of 10 Canadian attempts on goal. By the end of the quarter, the Australians had built a 4-1 lead with Stingers’ newcomer Bronte Halligan accounting for two of them.
In the second half, the Canadians scored two goals in 30 seconds to cut the Australian lead to just one goal. The Stingers recovered to finish the quarter with a goal by Zoe Arancini.
Keesja Gofers scored a five-metre penalty in the third quarter to restore the Stingers’ three-goal advantage.
Ms Yianitsas was key to blunting determined Canadian attacks in the third quarter, saving two of their efforts on goal. She also provided a long-range pass to Keesja Gofers on the left who scored from a distance.
The game ended 8-5 in favour of Australia.
In the Men’s tournament Australia lost their Group B game 10-15 to Montenegro. Greece, In Group A triumphed over Hungary 10-9.
• Tonight, at 7.20pm, the Stingers will face the once-dominant Netherlands team in their first game in Group A. South Africa and Spain are the other countries represented in the group.