Former UH water polo players lead Netherlands to gold

BEIJING — Two former University of Hawai‘i water polo players helped lead the Netherlands to one of the bigger upsets yesterday at the Olympics, beating the United States 9-8 for the gold medal.

Iefke Van Belkum and Meike De Nooy helped the Dutch stun the U.S., who came into Beijing ranked No. 1.

Van Belkum played the entire game and scored one goal on six shots.

She added two steals and one block. De Nooy was the reserve goalkeeper for the Netherlands.

Overall the Netherlands was led by Danielle de Bruijn, who scored seven goals. She scored the winner with 26 seconds remaining.

De Bruijn scored the first two goals of the game and the Dutch jumped ahead 4-0. She added two more right after halftime to give her country a 7-5 lead. She also scored the last two on power plays.

For the Olympics, Van Belkum was one of two Dutch players to play all 102 minutes in the three games during the final rounds. She finished with six goals on 22 shots.

Van Belkum led the final rounds in extra player shots, scoring three goals and finished second overall scoring six goals.

The Netherlands began the preliminary rounds with a 1-2 record, but beat Italy 13-11 in the quarterfinals. The Dutch then beat Hungary in the semifinals 8-7, before facing the U.S.

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