World Championship Water Polo: U.S. Tops Netherlands in Battle of Champs to Open Women’s Play

Rachel Fattal; Photo Courtesy: Sherie Key/USAWP

World Championship Water Polo: U.S. Tops Netherlands in Battle of Champs to Open Women’s Play

The women’s water polo tournament at the 2024 World Aquatics Championships got off to a marquee start Sunday, with reigning Olympic champion United States topping World Champion Netherlands, 10-8.

Ashleigh Johnson made eight saves, while Tara Prentice, Rachel Fattal and Jordan Raney scored twice each to get the tournament in Doha off to a flying start.

Fattal helped build a 5-2 lead early in the second quarter, and Maggie Steffens’ goal with 1:53 left in the third quarter made it 9-6, enough of a cushion to withstand the late push by the Dutch. Simone van de Kraats got Netherlands within 10-8 with 2:41 to play, but the U.S. turned up the defense to get the result across the line.

Van de Kraats scored four goals, but the U.S. muzzled the high-powered trio of Sabrina van der Sloot, Brigitte Sleeking and Lieke Rogge, who combined to shoot 2-for-16. Kitty-Lynn Joustra added two goals.

Laura Aarts stopped eight shots for the newly crowned European champ.

The game of the day wasn’t quite as highly touted, with Kazakhstan beating Brazil, 16-15, in the penalty shootout. Anna Novikova’s fourth goal of the game tied it with 57 seconds left, then seven rounds of the shootout were required until Viktoriya Kaplun won it. Jeniffer Cavalvante scored four times for Brazil.

Spain handled China, 18-5, with a Paula Crespi hat trick leading seven multi-goal scorers. Martina Terre stopped 10 shots.

Greece steadily pulled away for an 11-7 win over France. Eleftheria Plevritou scored a hat trick, and Erini Ninou and Vasiliki Plevitrou scored twice apiece.

Hungary poured on eight goals in the fourth quarter to fatten the scoreline in a 19-8 win over New Zealand. Greta Gurisatti potted six goals. Rita Keszthelyi fired home five.

Fresh off a solid result at Euros, Great Britain couldn’t keep pace with Italy in a 22-10 loss. They were outscored 12-4 in the middle two quarters. Guiditta Galardi and Roberta Bianconi scored four goals each. Sofia Giustini and Agnese Cocchiere supplied hat tricks.

Australia routed Singapore, 32-1, behind five goals from Keesja Gofers and four each from Abby Anders and Bridget Leeson-Smith.

Canada pitched a first-half shutout on the way to a 24-2 decision over South Africa. Jessica Gaudreaut and Clara Vulpisi combined for eight saves. Emma Wright was 5-for-5 shooting, and Elyse Lemay-Lavoie added five goals.

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