USA Women’s Water Polo Routs Russia, Will Play for FINA Super Final Crown

Stephania Haralabidis

USA Women’s Water Polo routed Russia, 17-8, Friday in the FINA World League semifinals, booking a finals date with Hungary on Saturday.

Maddie Musselman, Makenzie Fischer and Stephania Haralabidis each tallied a hat trick as the U.S. handled Russia easily. It steps up a finals date with Hungary, which got past Canada, 14-10, in the later semifinal. The final in Athens is Saturday at 1:15 p.m. ET.

Team USA is vying for its seventh consecutive FINA Super League title and 14th overall.

The U.S. allowed its opponent to score first for the first time in the tournament, but goals 40 seconds apart from Musselman and Maggie Steffens with 5:25 left in the first quarter erased that deficit. Ashleigh Johnson made three saves in the second quarter to blank the Russians, allowing the U.S. to run out to a 4-0 margin and a 9-3 edge at half. Johnson finished with 11 saves. Alys Williams and Aria Fischer added goals in the frame.

In all, the U.S. outscored Russia 8-1 over the middle two quarters. They also held Russia to just two goals on nine 6-v-5 opportunities.

Steffens, Williams and Aria Fischer scored twice each. Williams added two assists, as did Rachel Fattal.

USA Women’s Water Polo enters the final as the only unbeaten team at the tournament. The Group B winners have won all five games by a combined score of 91-34. Hungary went 1-2 in group play, losing its first two games by one goal each, before exacting revenge on Canada on Friday. Captain Rita Keszthelyi scored four goals in that game, and Hungary got two each from Dorottya Szilagyi, Greta Gurisatti, Anna Illes and Natasa Rybanska. The teams have not met at this tournament.

Saturday’s final will be broadcast in the United States via FloSports.

USA 17, Russia 8

USA 17 (5, 4, 4, 4): M. Musselman 3, S. Haralabidis 3, M. Fischer 3, A. Williams 2, A. Fischer 2, M. Steffens 2, M. Seidemann 1, R. Fattal 1
Russia 8 (3, 0, 1, 4): M. Bersneva 1, E. Prokofyeva 1, E. Karimova 1, M. Borisova 1, A. Simanovich 1, A. Timofeeva 1, E. Ivanova 1, N. Glyzina 1
Saves: USA – A. Johnson 11, RUS – E. Golovina 8; 6×5: USA 4/14, RUS 2/9; Penalties: USA 4/4, RUS 0/0.