Sports

Neushul, Steffens help lead USA into Super Final championship

 

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
Team USA scored the first seven goals of the contest and breezed the rest of the way. Rachel Fattal led the Americans with three goals. Sacred Heart Prep grad KK Clark of Menlo Park also scored.

"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."

— Palo Alto Online Sports/USA Water Polo

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