2022 World Champs Water Polo: U.S. Women Win Gold in Stellar Defensive Effort


  • June 20 – July 3, 2022 (water polo)
  • Budapest, Hungary
  • Alfréd Hajós National Swimming Stadium
  • Results


  • USA def. Hungary 9-7

The women’s Gold medal match here in Budapest was a thriller, seeing Team USA emerge victorious against a scrappy Hungarian squad. As could have been expected, it was the American defense that won the day. They were able to hold Hungary to just 7 points, while scoring 9 of their own.

It was truly a defensive effort for the ages, as the Americans allowed just 17 shots to make it to their goalkeeper, Ashleigh Johnson, who played the entire match. Johnson, who played phenomenally throughout this entire tournament, was at the top of her game, saving 10 of the 17 shots that came her way. She was exceptional against extra player shots, saving 4 of the 7 Hungary put up.

The U.S. offense ran through Madeline Musselman, who put up 9 shots, which is incredible, given the U.S. only took 28 shots. Musselman scored on 5 of her 9 shots, which also makes her responsible for 5 of the Americans’ 9 goals. Ryann Neushul was a great secondary star for the U.S., taking 5 shots and scoring on 3 of them.

On the Hungarian team, Greta Gurisatti and Rita Keszthelyi kept the pressure up, taking 8 shots each. They combined for 5 goals, making the pair responsible for all but 2 of the team’s points.

Bronze Medal Match

  • Netherlands def. Italy 7-5

The Bronze medal match between Netherlands and Italy went down to the wire. The Italians were in control early, outscoring Netherlands 4-2 in the first half. Netherlands made adjustments and came out of halftime swinging, however, putting up 2 goals in the 3rd quarter while holding Italy scoreless. That put the match in a 4-4 tie heading into the 4th quarter, where Netherlands would continue to roll, scoring 3 goals to Italy’s 1.

Dutch goalkeeper Laura Aarts put together a heroic performance for her team, saving 9 of the 14 shots that came her way for a staggering 64% save percentage. Netherlands’ defense deserves its share of the credit as well, holding Italy to only 23 shots, and only allowing 14 to make it to Aarts.

Italian keeper Caterina Banchelli had a special performance as well, saving 11 of the 18 shots that made it to her. Perhaps most impressive, Banchelli saved 4 of the 8 extra player shots that Netherlands sent her way.

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1 year ago

The American women’s team was simply unstoppable in this gold medal round. Hats off to them, esp. as this is, I think, a 4-peat for them. In fairness, Hungary looked and acted like the world class team they are, but TEAM USA women bring home the gold medal and highlight the closing days of this World Championships with their own superb closing!