Sports

American women remain atop the FINA water polo world

 

Stanford grad and Olympian Melissa Seidemann scored three goals to help the United States women's senior national water polo team beat Australia, 10-6, on Sunday in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia to capture the FINA World Cup title.

Cardinal senior Kiley Neushul added two goals for the Americans, who made it a sweep of the major tournaments over the summer. The U.S. also won the FINA World League Super Final and the Kirishi Cup.


Melissa Seidemann/USA Water Polo
The Americans (6-0, 22-2-1), who outscored their opponents 45-10 in the medal round of the World Cup competition, are undefeated over their last 11 games.

The U.S. also successfully defended its World Cup title from 2010, becoming the first team to do so since The Netherlands in 1999, when the event was held nearly every year.

UCLA grad Sami Hill recorded 16 saves in the championship, while fellow goalkeeper Ashleigh Johnson was named the tournament's top goalie.

"I'm very proud of this team's preparation, focus, and attitude throughout this tournament and the entire summer," U.S. coach Adam Krikorian said. "It's a fun group that truly enjoys each other's company. They are inspiring to watch because they play like young kids who are in love with the sport and competition."

Team USA won its third World Cup, also taking home the trophy in the event's inaugural year 1979 in Merced. The Americans won their 2010 title in Christchurch, New Zealand.

"We got off to a great start," said Krikorian, the former UCLA coach who grew up in Mountain View. "The combination of our defense and Sami's outstanding performance in the cage was huge. The difference for us, as it was for the whole tournament, was our execution in six on five and five on six situations."

Australia opened the scoring but the U.S. responded with four unanswered goals and never looked back. The Americans led, 7-3, at halftime.

Team USA was 5 of 7 on power plays and converted its only penalty shot. Australia was 3 of 10 on power plays and Hill stopped the Aussie's lone penalty shot attempt.

Stanford junior Maggie Steffens also scored for the Americans, while Cardinal grad Annika Dries was a mainstay on defense. Sacred Heart Prep and UCLA grad KK Clark scored a goal in each the quarterfinal and semifinal contests.

— Palo Alto Online Sports/USA water polo

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