USA women earn trip to Rio Olympics in water polo


With incoming Stanford freshman Makenzie Fischer scoring six goals, the USA Water Polo Women's National Team punched its ticket to the 2016 Olympic Games with a 19-0 water polo shutout France at the Olympic Qualification Tournament on Saturday in Gouda, Netherlands.

The victory assured Team USA of a top-four finish at the qualification event and secured the Americans the opportunity to defend their Olympic gold medal this Summer in Rio.

Makenzie Fischer
Sunday,the Americans Beat Spain, 13-7, to advance to the gold medal match of the Olympic Qualification Tournament.

Stanford grads Kiley Neushul and Melissa Sideman joined and Fischer in scoring three goals each.

Fischer, who deferred her freshman year at Stanford, led the offensive onslaught against the French while goalies Ashleigh Johnson and Sami Hill recorded eight saves in net in the win.

In their first meeting against France in head coach Adam Krikorian's tenure, dating to 2009, Team USA left little doubts of its Olympic-minded intentions. Fischer scored the first of her six goals just 22 seconds into the match and Stanford grad Kiley Neushul followed with a score for a quick 2-0 lead. Fischer added two more goals after that and Stanford senior Maggie Steffens finished off the period with a power-play goal for a 5-0 USA lead.

The second period was where Team USA put the match away as six different scorers accounted for seven goals. Maddie Musselman got things started with a score followed by the first of three goals on the day from Aria Fischer for a 7-0 margin. Sister Makenzie came back with another goal followed by a Kaleigh Gilchrist conversion on a penalty shot for a 9-0 lead. Steffens took a dish from Neushul for a score to go up 10-0 and then Kami Craig ripped a backhand to make it 11-0. Makenzie Fischer ended the half the way she started it, by scoring a goal, to put the United States up 12-0 at intermission.

Steffens finished with four goals with Stanford grad Melissa Seidemann tallying once.

Team USA tuned up for the rout of France by crushing South Africa on Friday, 25-1. Steffens scored four goals, KK Clark of Menlo Park added four tallies, Makenzie Fischer scored twice with Seidemann and Neushul finishing with one goal each.

— USA Water Polo/Palo Alto Online Sports


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