Stanford standouts help USA women win water polo gold


The USA Women's National Team picked up another gold medal in water polo, this time with a 6-5 victory over Australia on Sunday to win the FINA Women's Intercontinental Tournament in Lewisville, Texas.

The victory capped a 6-0 week for the Americans, where they clinched a berth to the FINA World League Super Final set for this June in China.

Stanford's Maggie Steffens (left) was the MVP and future Cardinal Makenzie Fischer shared high-scoring honors for Team USA. Photo by Tim Heitman.
Maddie Musselman scored three goals, including the final tally for Team USA, to pace the offense while Ashleigh Johnson recorded eight stops in net to earn the win.

Maggie Steffens, who is redshirting this season at Stanford, was named tournament MVP with Australia's Kelsey Wakefield earning top goalkeeping honors. Makenzie Fischer, who deferred her freshman year at Stanford, joined with Australia's Rowie Webster to share the high-scoring award with 13 goals each.

In other action, it was China topping Canada 10-6 to claim third place and Brazil edging Japan 9-8 for fifth place.

For the second straight match, the United States got off to hot start against Australia as Rachel Fattal opened the scoring with the first USA goal at 5:23 with an assist from Stanford grad Kiley Neushul. Aria Fischer, younger sister of Makenzie, added a goal at 1:58 for a 2-0 lead. Musselman closed out the scoring in the first with a power play with :05 left in the quarter for a 3-0 lead.

The USA took a 4-3 lead into halftime, but Musselman extended the lead to 5-3 with a power-play goal at 5:54. Steffens hit the post on a penalty shot at 4:10 of the quarter, leaving the margin at just two goals. Australia scored to narrow the U.S. lead to 5-4.

With the pressure mounting, Musselman delivered again to start the quarter for a 6-4 lead with 4:58 remaining. Australia answered, but the Aussies would get no closer as Team USA was able to force a steal late in the match to secure the victory.

In addition to Steffens, Neushul and Makenzie Fischer, Stanford was represented by grad Melissa Seidemann. Also playing for Team USA was Sacred Heart Prep grad KK Clark from Menlo Park.

— USA Water Polo/Palo Alto Online Sports

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