Olympics: USA Water Polo Tops Canada to Reach Semifinals

Lima, Monday, August 5, 2019 - Margaret Steffens, from the USA, fights for the ball during the Women’s Preliminary Group A Water Polo match against Brazil at the Polideportivo Villa Maria del Triunfo at the Pan American Games Lima 2019. Copyright Marcos Brindicci / Lima 2019 Mandatory credits: Lima 2019 ** NO SALES ** NO ARCHIVES **
Photo Courtesy: Marcos Brindicci

Olympics: USA Water Polo Tops Canada to Reach Semifinals

The U.S. Olympic Women’s Water Polo Team has never missed the semifinal round at the Olympic Games, that won’t change in Tokyo following a 16-5 win over Canada.

Maggie Steffens, Makenzie Fischer and Alys Williams all scored three goals in an offensive onslaught that saw eight different players find the cage. Ashleigh Johnson played the first three quarters in goal amassing 14 saves before Amanda Longan made her Olympic debut in the final period recording 3 stops. Team USA now awaits the winner of Australia-ROC to determine who they will play in the semifinal round on Thursday in Tokyo. Match time and broadcast information will be shared as soon as it is available. A replay of the USA-Canada match will air as part of Olympic coverage on NBC starting at 12pm et/9am pt and on NBC Sports Network starting at 8pm et/5pm pt. A replay of the live stream is available by clicking here.

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After a bye to close out group play, USA Water Polo came out fresh to start their quarterfinal match delivering seven goals in the opening period. Maddie Musselman hit on a penalty shot in the first thirty seconds of the period followed by a Makenzie Fischer counter attack goal less than a minute later for a 2-0 lead. Musselman came back with a power play goal and Williams hit on her first of the day for a 4-0 edge before the halfway point of the quarter. Aria Fischer was up next, connecting out of two meters for a 5-0 lead. Canada broke through moments later but Steffens answered with two goals in the span of a minute for a 7-1 lead, the last coming on a penalty shot score.

Fischer opened the second with a power play goal followed by a Kaleigh Gilchrist strike that ricocheted off the back of the cage for a 9-1 advantage. Canada scored two of the next three goals to make it 10-3 with under two minutes to go in the first half. Rachel Fattal closed the strong offensive half for Team USA with a goal with just ten seconds to play in the quarter for an 11-3 lead at intermission.

For all the offense in the first half, things went quiet in the third quarter with no goals scored. Johnson recorded four saves while Clara Vulpisi made three stops for Canada and it was an 11-3 game going to the fourth. Canada tried to get on track in the fourth quarter and opened scoring two of the first three goals for a 12-5 game with 7:05 to play. Team USA didn’t entertain any comeback thoughts as they wouldn’t allow another goal the rest of the way while adding on four more of their own. Stephania Haralalbidis, Makenzie Fischer, Williams and Aria Fischer all found the cage to wrap up the 16-5 victory.

Team USA went 5/9 on power plays and 2/2 on penalty shots while Canada was 3/6 on power plays with no penalty shots attempted.

Scoring – Stats
USA Water Polo 16 (7, 4, 0, 5) M. Steffens 3, A. Williams 3, M. Fischer 3, M. Musselman 2, A. Fischer 2, R. Fattal 1, S. Haralabidis 1, K. Gilchrist 1
CAN 5 (1, 2, 0, 2) S. la Roche 2, A. Crevier 1, E. Wright 1, H. McKelvey 1
Saves – USA – A. Johnson 14, A. Longan 3 – CAN – C. Vulpisi 7
6×5 – USA – 5/9 – CAN 3/6
Penalties – USA 2/2 – CAN 0/0

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