The USA Water Polo Women's Junior National Team has repeated as champion at the FINA Junior World Championships as Team USA defeated Spain, 13-10, on Sunday to cap an undefeated run to the title in Volos, Greece.
Aria Fischer scored four goals to lead the United States on offense and was named tournament Most Valuable Player. Mary Brooks also added four goals. Amanda Longan went the distance in net and was named Top Goalkeeper of the tournament.
The victory maintains the USA Water Polo Women's National Team program status as reigning Olympic, FINA World, FINA Junior World, FINA Youth World, FINA World Cup, and FINA World League Champions.
"I think that we got together a cohesive group of talented girls and we were given the challenge of becoming a team in a short period of time, which is no easy feat," said Neushul, the team captain. "We knew the only way we could win was to win together. Rather than a relying on talent alone, we were able to rely on one another and play for each other through every possession. It is a staple of USA water polo, and a staple of champions."
"The dedication, trust, and teamwork that went into this World Championships has allowed for these athletes to become a part of the USA Water Polo legacy," said USA head coach Coralie Simmons. "This team believed we could form the best team in the world and proved it today in the final. My staff and I are very proud to be a part of this special group."
The match was tight in the first period with Spain scoring the opening goal to go ahead 1-0. Fischer quickly responded with a score to even the match at 1. Makenzie Barr followed with a goal to put Team USA up 2-1. That lead was short-lived as Spain came back with two goals to go up 3-2. Fischer and Mary Brooks scored the next two goals to put the United States ahead 4-3. Spain's Beatriz Ortiz connected with four seconds left in the quarter to create a 4-4 tie after one period.
Team USA took control in the second period by outscoring Spain 3-1 to take a 7-5 lead at intermission. Fischer, Brooks, and Neushul scored in the second to help take the lead. The United States added to its lead in the third thanks to two goals each from Brooks and Alexis Liebowtiz for an 11-7 advantage.
Spain looked to rally in the fourth as it mounted three goals, including two from Ortiz. Team USA countered with two goals early from Fischer and Emily Loughlin to secure the lead on the way to the win.