USA Water Polo Wins Super Final Despite Losing Early Lead

Photo Courtesy: Princeton Athletics
The USA Women’s Senior National Team won gold at the 2015 FINA World League Super Final with an 8-7 win over Australia earlier today in Shanghai. The victory marks the ninth Super Final crown in program history for Team USA water polo.

Courtney Mathewson (Anaheim Hills, CA/UCLA/NYAC) and Kaleigh Gilchrist (Newport Beach, CA/USC/Trojan) scored two goals in the win while Ashleigh Johnson (Miami, FL/Princeton/Miami Riptides) recorded 14 saves in net. Team USA finishes the event undefeated securing wins over Australia, Brazil, Canada, Russia along with two victories over the Netherlands.

Team USA got off to a strong start in the first quarter with a 6-2 lead after the opening eight minutes. Australia bounced back with three goals in the second period and cut the deficit to 7-5 at halftime.

Both offenses went dry in the third quarter with neither side mustering a goal leaving the score 7-5 in favor of Team USA going to the fourth. Australia continued to rally in the fourth adding two more goals but Team USA found the back of the net once more to secure the win by a single goal at 8-7.

Johnson came up big in the second half blocking a penalty shot as well to help Team USA hang on for the victory. The United States struggled on the power play going 0/3 while Australia was 2/5. Team USA did not attempt a penalty shot with Australia going 0/1.

“I’ve never been so disappointed after a win,” said USA Head Coach Adam Krikorian. “Australia outplayed us for three quarters. Luckily we had a big lead and made some crucial defensive stops in the last minute of the game.”

USA 8 (6, 1, 0, 1) C. Mathewson 2, K. Gilchrist 2, K. Clark 1, M. Steffens 1, M. Fischer 1, K. Craig 1
AUS 7 (2, 3, 0, 2)
Saves – USA – A. Johnson – 14
6×5 – USA – 0/3 – AUS 2/5
Penalties – USA – 0/0 – AUS 0/1

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Author: Diana Pimer

Diana Pimer was a breaststroke/IMer at Keene State College and is the NEISDA Conference record holder in the 200 IM. She is currently an Age Group Coach at AGUA in New York City and has covered major competitions for Swimming World including the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, 2015 and 2017 FINA World Championships, USA Swimming Nationals and more.

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