USA women take over first in group at Junior World Championship

Ryann Neushul scored three goals and was named Player of the Match in USA's 8-7 win over Hungary on Tuesday. Photo by Erin Chang/

Stanford sophomore Ryann Neushul scored three goals and the U.S. junior national women’s water polo team edged defending champion Hungary 8-7 in pool play of the FINA Junior World Championship in Funchal, Portugal on Tuesday.

Jewel Roemer scored twice for the Americans, who overtook the Hungarians for the Group A lead. The U.S. has four points to Hungary’s three points with one pool play match remaining.

“This win is so important, especially after our tie against Japan,” U.S. coach Natalie (Gouda) Benson said. “It puts us in a good position to advance. I’m proud of the way our girls played defense.”

The U.S. meets Australia on Wednesday. The Aussies tipped Japan 11-10 and are tied with Hungary for second in Group A. Ava Johnson and Leland High grad Jenna Flynn also netted goals.

“We knew that in order to advance we needed to win these two games,” said Neushul, named the game’s Player of the Match. “We knew Hungary would be a really tough opponent, with a different style. We adapted well, for sure. One more game left. I think that Australia is a great opponent as well.”

In other matches played Tuesday, Spain swamped Kazakhstan 22-5, The Netherlands bruised Brazil 19-7, Russia got by Italy 14-11, China topped New Zealand 13-7, Greece downed Canada 16-9 and South Africa took care of host Portugal 13-5.

— Palo Alto Sports Online/FINA

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