Trojan Teammates Tangle Again For International Gold

    Anni Espar will claim her third medal of the year to go along with an NCAA title.

    Aug 24, 2013

    USC's Anni Esparis having quite a year. Just before beginning her Trojan career as a freshman, Espar won a silver medal with Spain at the 2012 Olympic Games. In 2013, she scored the game-winning goal for the Women of Troy as USC captured the NCAA Championship. Two months later, she grabbed a gold medal with Spain at the FINA World Championships in her hometown of Barcelona. And now, less than a year after claiming Olympic silver, Espar is within reach of yet another impressive accomplishment. Espar, who is on the cusp of starting her sophomore year at USC, is still of age to compete at the junior level. So, the intrepid Spaniard has capped up with the Spanish Junior National Team to compete at this month's FINA Junior World Championships. And once again, she will have to fend off her own Trojan teammates in order to take a step to the top of the podium.

    Espar's Spanish squad will face off against the U.S. Junior National Team for gold tomorrow at 9 a.m. PT in Greece. Team USA boasts two fellow Trojans -- Eike Daube and Monica Vavic-- who also have picked up a knack for winning as NCAA champs in 2013. Daube and Vavic will begin their junior seasons at Troy this week, but first, there are medals to vie for overseas. Espar will be looking for her second gold with the Junior National Team, having been a member of the 2011 squad that won it all in Italy. For Team USA, this will be the first appearance in the junior gold-medal game since 2005. Daube and Vavic are making their first appearances for the USA at Junior World Championships.

    The USA-Spain gold-medal game will be STREAMED LIVEat 9 a.m. PT on Sunday (August 25).

    In today's semifinals, the United States posted a powerful 10-3 win over Greece to move into the final. Vavic scored once for the USA in that one. Vavic has provided three goals and Daube one during the USA's 12-10 quarterfinal win over Hungary in the previous round.

    Spain, meanwhile, had a tighter semifinal battle against Russia, but thanks in part to two goals from Espar the Spaniards pulled out the 9-8 win to advance. Espar had plugged in one goal in Spain's tough 8-7 win over Australia in the quarterfinals. That, too, presented another Trojan rematch, as Australia's Jayde Appel also has followed up action with the Aussies at the FINA World Championships with a spot on the Australian Junior National Team. Appel scored a goal vs. Spain in the semis for the Aussies.

    At the FINA World Championships last month in Barcelona, Espar and Spain had to contend with a tough Australia team in the gold-medal match. The Aussies also boasted a pair of Trojans on the roster in Espar's fellow national champs Hannah Buckling and Jayde Appel. The Trojan reunion would fall in Spain's favor, with Espar snagging the gold and Buckling and Appel taking silver, while another current Trojan -- goalie Flora Bolonyai-- won bronze as a member of Team Hungary.

    For more information, visit the 2013 FINA Junior World Championships web site