USA women win again in Olympic water polo qualifying


The USA Women's National Team moved to 4-0 at the Olympic Qualification Tournament and secured first place in Group A following a 15-7 water polo win over Greece on Thursday in Gouda, The Netherlands.

Stanford grad Kiley Neushul turned in a stellar performance by scoring five goals, adding five assists and drawing three exclusions. Ashleigh Johnson did the job in net by turning away nine shots and racking up five steals.

The win leaves the United States with eight points in group play, meaning they can't be caught from behind as Greece suffer its first loss of the tourney. Team USA closes out group play on Friday when the Americans take on South Africa.

In addition to Neushul's five goals, Stanford senior Maggie Steffens tallied three, incoming Cardinal freshman Makenzie Fischer had two and KK Clark from Menlo Park (and Sacred Heart Prep) tallied twice.

Team USA set the tempo early as Kami Craig scored in the opening moments on a skipshot for a 1-0 lead. Greece responded with a score to even the game at 1-1, but the United States came back with two more -- one from Neushul and another from Fischer for a 3-1 advantage in the first. Greece mustered another goal not long after to pull within 3-2, but the rest of the quarter belonged to Team USA. In the span of two minutes, Aria Fischer, Steffens and Neushul strung goals together to build a 6-2 advantage after the opening stanza.

Steffens and Neushul picked up where they left off to start the second, scoring consecutive goals for an 8-2 lead with 4:54 left in the half. After Greece cut into the deficit with a score Team USA responded with goals from Clark and Steffens, who scored on a power play. The U.S. took a commanding 10-4 halftime lead.

Holding an 11-5 lead after three quarters, Team USA got back-to-back goals from Neushul to open the final period, the second coming on a skip over the keeper's head for a 13-5 lead with a little over six minutes to play. It became clear that things were going the way of the Americans when Clark's attempt was field-blocked into the net for another goal and a 14-5 lead with 5:20 left in the match. Greece scored two straight to pull within seven goals, but Makenzie Fischer put the game on ice with a penalty shot in the late stages.

The United States converted five of seven shots on power plays while Greece went 4 of 8.

— Palo Alto Online Sports/USA Water Polo

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Like this comment
Posted by Bradford Barrett
a resident of another community
on Mar 26, 2016 at 7:13 am

Go KK Clark! Go team! We are so proud!

Barrett's of Westwood

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