Stanford's Maggie Steffens and Kiley Neushul each scored twice as the top-ranked U.S. Women's Senior National Team team advanced to the gold-medal water polo match of the FINA World League Super Final with a 13-4 victory over fourth-ranked Australia on Saturday.
The Americans meet Italy in Sunday's championship game. The sixth-ranked Italians edged China, 9-8, in the other semifinal. The host Chinese upset defending world champion Spain in the quarterfinal.
Kiley Neushul/USA Water Polo
"It's so great to get a win," Fattal said. "We improved in each game as we played and got better as a team. Today we just tried to play as hard as we could, keep our momentum no matter what the scoreboard showed."
The victory avenged Team USA's lone loss of the season, a 7-5 setback to the Aussies in the championship game of the Intercontinental tournament two weeks ago.
"The first quarter was great; we were executing well but in some ways it doesn't feel right, as I don't think we got Australia's best game," American coach Adam Krikorian said. "They can play much better and missed a couple of players so we can't look into it too much. However, anytime you beat a great team like Australia, it's a good win."
Stingers' player Rowie Webster, who scored twice, said missing early chances led to a poor performance.
"The game was tough, we knew they would come out with a really heavy press," Webster said. "At the start we just missed our mark and gave them a good head start and it was always going to be a tough challenge to get back in front."