The USA Women's Senior National Team got off to a strong start at the FINA World League Super Final in Shanghai with a 16-3 water polo win over Brazil on Tuesday in China. Incoming Stanford freshman Makenzie Fischer scored three goals to lead a balanced offensive attack.
Goalie Ashleigh Johnson anchored the defense with 12 saves. Team USA resumes play Wednesday against Canada before taking on The Netherlands on Thursday to conclude Group B play.
Team USA opened up a 4-1 lead in the first quarter to take control of the match after the initial eight minutes. In the second quarter the United States put the match away outscoring Brazil 5-0 to build a 9-1 halftime lead.
In the third period, it was more of the same with four unanswered goals from Team USA taking a 13-1 lead to the fourth. In the final period Brazil mustered two goals but it didn't factor in the decision as the United States cruised to the lopsided victory.
Stanford's Maggie Steffens added two goals with Cardinal grad Melissa Seidemann adding one goal along with Sacred Heart Prep grad KK Clark of Menlo Park and recent Stanford grad Kiley Neushul.
The USA team has a decidedly Stanford flavor
with five members of the 13-woman roster possessing Stanford ties.
Ashley Grossman and Neushul, who recently concluded their Stanford careers with a third national championship last month, are joined on Team USA by junior and 2012 Olympic gold medalist Steffens, 2013 graduate and fellow 2012 Olympic gold medalist Seidemann and Fischer, who signed her National Letter of Intent with the Cardinal in mid-November.
The group recently claimed gold at the 2015 Kunshan Cup in China, the USA's second major championship of 2015. Fischer, Seidemann and incoming freshman Madison Berggren were on the roster when the U.S. won gold at the FINA Intercontinental Tournament in Auckland, New Zealand in early May.
In Kunshan last week, Team USA went a perfect 4-0 with wins over the Netherlands (10-3) and China (13-7) to open the event and victories over Canada (10-8) and The Netherlands again (18-9) in the semifinals and finals to nab the title. Steffens and Fischer each posted hat tricks in the championship while Grossman and Neushul added multi-goal efforts and Seidemann scored one of her own.
Steffens scored nine times in the four games, highlighted by a four-goal effort in a 13-7 victory over China on June 4. Kiley Neushul scored three of her eight goals on the week in the same game. Fischer scored six total goals in Kunshan and put home at least one in each match. Grossman and Seidemann contributed three each of Team USA's 51 goals at the event.
While just a few with Stanford ties are representing their country in China, the entire current Cardinal squad will do so at the 2015 World University Games in Gwangju, South Korea this July.