Alex Morgan’s head is now famous for more than just her signature pink headband.
Team USA and Canada had battled for 122 minutes to a 3-3 tie in the quarterfinal match. About a minute more of play stood between the squads and the first penalty kicks in Olympic history.
Heather O’Reilly fired a long cross toward the box where Morgan and veteran late-game heroine Abby Wambach. Morgan’s head caught it and bounced the ball just over goalkeeper Erin McLeod and into the net for the decisive goal.
“I just got my head on it at the end. I didn’t even see it go in,” Morgan said. “I was just trying to be in the right position, and it just so happened that I was. I still can’t believe it.”
With Morgan’s goal, the U.S. team advances to the gold medal match on Thursday where it will face Japan. It’ll be a rematch of last year’s World Cup, in which the Japanese prevailed in penalty kicks.
Christine Sinclair netted all three of Canada’s goals, but Morgan’s one goal is surely the one that will be remembered.
The clinching goal marked Morgan’s third of the Olympics, but first since the opening game.
“I’m just so proud of her,” Wambach said. “What a great goal by a young kid who has big expectations for herself … You can’t put words into this experience. It’s epic.”
Men’s Water Polo
While Morgan and crew turned in a memorable Olympic performance, fellow former Bear John Mann and the USA water polo team had a day they’d rather forget. Hungary crushed the Americans, 11-6, but Team USA moves on after placing fourth in Group B. Mann tallied a goal and a field block in the loss.
Current Cal sophomore Aleksa Saponjic was on the right side of a shellacking. The Serbian squad dominated Romania, 12-4, to finish pool play with a 4-0-1 record. Saponjic also logged a field block in his roughly nine minutes of work.
Both teams advance to the quarterfinals. Mann and the Americans will square off against Croatia on Sunday, while Saponjic and the Serbians jump back into the water on Wednesday to face Australia
It was a meaningless game, but Great Britain throttled China, 90-58. It marked the British’s first win in Olympic basketball since 1948. Former Bear Max Zhang was a perfect 2-for-2 from the field for four points to end his Olympics.
Track & Field
Croatian Martin Maric failed to qualify for the discus championship rounds. The former NCAA discus champion finished 10th in his group and 17th overall, which is a marked improvement from his 29th place finish in the 2008 Beijing Games.