Canada to face Australia for Commonwealth water polo title

It'll be Canada-Australia finals in both men's and women's competition at the Commonwealth water polo championships following semifinal action on Saturday.

In men's play, the Canadians, seeded second in the tournament and 14th in the world, received a five-goal performance from Mikael Sabo of Vancouver to defeat Malta 13-3. Ted Bader of Toronto added two goals with singles to Dusa Lazeravic of Toronto, Kevin Mitchell and Thomas Marks of Vancouver, Adam Deffett of London, Ont., and Mike Gordon and Nathaniel Miller of Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Que.

"Mikael was on fire," said Canadian coach Dave Ardell. "He's the captain and he is showing a lot of leadership. We were waiting for him to break out however this week we've had contributions from everybody offensively. And defensively it's been outstanding particularly when we've played a man short."

Malta had eight power play opportunities compared to one for Canada.

In the other semi, Australia seeded first and ranked 10th in the world, defeated England 11-4.

In women's action, Canada beat England 10-4 in game that was close in the first half. The turning point was late in the second quarter when Joanne Begin of Ste-Foy, Que., and Sandra Lize of Montreal scored in the final 90 seconds to increase Canada's lead to 6-3.

Begin ended the match with three goals while Lize, Sue Gardiner of Vancouver and Cora Campbell of Calgary added two each and Christi Bardecki of Toronto scored the other goal.

At the world championships last year in Japan, Canada won the bronze medal while Australia was fifth. In round robin play last week, Australia beat Canada 9-6.

"We're going for the gold," said Ahmed El-Awadi, the assistant coach with the Canadian women's team. "I think the Australians will be nervous. We lost that round robin game because of our own mistakes. We're playing a lot better now. Our passing is a lot crisper and was one of our biggest assets in today's game."

In the other semi, Australia hammered South Africa 16-2.

The finals are on Sunday.

Courtesy of Canadian Sport News