Team USA advances into semis of FINA Super Final water polo


Stanford's Melissa Seidemann, Maggie Steffens and Mackenzie Fischer were among five players who scored twice as the USA women's senior national water polo team downed Russia, 14-7, on Friday in the quarterfinals of the FINA World League Super Final.

The Americans (4-0, 26-2) meet China in Saturday's semifinals. The Chinese, coached by Richard Azevedo, the father of Stanford grad and four-time Olympian Tony Azevedo, beat Canada 13-8.

In other matches, Spain beat Italy, 8-5; and Australia topped Brazil, 11-2.

Aria Fischer and Courtney Mathewson also scored twice for the U.S., which is looking to repeat as Super Final champions.

Ashleigh Johnson stopped 11 shots in goal for Team USA, while Cardinal grad Kiley Neushul and Menlo Park resident KK Clark each scored a goal.

Team USA grabbed a 4-2 lead after the first quarter and then built an 8-2 lead at halftime. In the third quarter the United States put the match away outscoring Russia 4-0 to go up 12-2 headed to the fourth quarter. In the final eight minutes Russia outscored Team USA 3-2 but it was not enough as Team USA pulled out the 14-7 victory.

The United States went 5-of-8 on power plays and 2-of-2 on penalty shots while Russia was 2-of-4 on power plays and did not attempt a penalty shot.

"I thought we were fortunate we had a few things go our way and it changed the complexity of the game, U.S. coach Adam Krikorian said. "The third quarter was clearly the difference for us."

After returning home Team USA will take on Hungary in a three game series on the East Coast with stops in Miami, FL (June 27), Greenwich, CT (June 29), and Bronx, NY (July 2).

"I am happy that we don't have to rely on one main scorer," Krikorian said. "We have many scorers who can shot from different angles."

— Palo Alto Online Sports/USA water polo

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