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Team USA Closes WUG in 5th Place, Sinks Spanish Armada Again




Kristen Levesque scored a pair of first-period goals as the U.S. National University Team closed out the 2015 World University Games in Granada, Spain with a comfortable 9-0 victory over Spain on Friday morning.

Team USA clinched fifth place and a 3-2-0 overall record with the win, a third consecutive top-five finish since entering the competition for the first time in 2011. The 0.600 win percentage is the group's best ever, edging 2013's 0.571.

It was decidedly a slower-building affair than the 9-1 triumph over the hosts on Monday to close out the preliminary round, as Rhode Island star Levesque countered an quick Spanish flurry (three shots, more than they managed in that entire first game) with her goals four minutes apart midway through the opening 20.

Levesque's linemates, Vermont's Emily Ford and Michigan's Monica Korzon, were just as dominant in the early stages. Ford made it 3-0 just 1:35 into the second period while team captain Korzon assisted on each of the first three American goals.

Miami's delegation to the squad went next, as Kaley Mooney and Katie Augustine pushed the score to 5-0 midway through, with Hayley Williams assisting Mooney. Then came the Minutewomen, with help from the Wolverines and Lakers: Caleigh LaBossiere (Massachusetts) added a sixth, from Kendra Myers (Grand Valley State) and Amanda Abromson (Massachusetts) just before the horn, while Abromson, LaBossiere and Eleanor Chalifoux (Michigan) closed out the scoring in the third period.

Davenport's Caitlin Nosanov and Michigan State's Maria Barlow split the shutout in goal, combining for 16 saves and helping to repel all three of the game's power plays.

Penn State's Madison Smiddy did not play in the contest, but in the four that she did, the senior managed a goal and two assists to go with a plus-five rating and ten shots on goal. One of the assists was a low drive from center point on an overtime power play that set up Ford's jam home to cap the U.S.' 3-2 comeback win over Kazakhstan on Tuesday. Despite missing Friday's obvious stat-padding opportunity, she wound up second among Team USA blueliners in scoring and tied for fourth tournament-wide. The plus-five was tied for 15th across all teams, tied for third on Team USA and tops among American defensemen.

Elsewhere, Russia - featuring eight players who competed at the 2014 Winter Olympics - defeated Canada 3-0 in the gold medal game on Thursday, the first time the Canadians have settled for something other than the top podium spot in the four women's World University Games tournaments held to date. Japan took the bronze medal with decision over China, a nice bit of redemption for the team that lost 2013's third-place game to the United States.

Smiddy, along with Levesque, Ford, LaBossiere, Abromson, Cassie Catlow (Rhode Island), Vicki Bortolussi (UMass) and Paige Harrington (UMass), will now return home and rejoin their respective college teams for the ECWHL playoffs, scheduled for February 20th through 22nd and URI's Brad Boss Ice Arena. The third-seeded Lady Ice Lions open the tournament with Navy on Friday, then face either URI or UMass in the semifinals on Saturday with a win.

Classification Group
GPWOTWOTLL+/-GF:GAPts.
1
United States
2
1
1
0
0
+10
12:2
5
2
Kazakhstan
2
1
0
1
0
+9
12:3
4
3
Spain
2
0
0
0
2
-19
0:19
0

Date 
Opponent
Time (ET)Coverage/Result
Thu. Feb. 5
China
11:00 a.m.
L 1-2
Sat. Feb. 7
Japan
11:00 a.m.
L 1-4
Mon. Feb. 9
Spain
2:30 p.m.
W 9-1
Tue. Feb. 10
Kazakhstan
2:30 p.m.
W 3-2 (OT)
Fri. Feb. 13
Spain
7:30 a.m.
W 9-0

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