2016 RIO OLYMPIC GAMES
- Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
- Swimming: August 6-13
- Olympic Aquatics Stadium, Barra Olympic Park, Rio de Janeiro
- Prelims – 9:00 a.m/12:00 p.m PST/EST (1:00 p.m local), Finals – 6:00 p.m/9:00 p.m PST/EST (10:00 p.m local)
- Schedule & Results
The U.S. Olympic Women’s Water Polo Team won their first knockout round of the tournament in Rio de Janeiro on Monday, marking the fifth time the Americans have made it to the semifinal round of play at the Olympic Games. (The United States have medaled in every Olympic Games since the sport was added for women in at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.)
After wrapping up the pool play with a 3-0 record, the U.S. took on the home team of Brazil in their quarterfinal match. Kami Craig opened the scoring for the Americans with a connecting shot with 6:15 left to play in the first quarter. A couple of minutes later Kiley Neushul and Maddie Musselman added two more to put the U.S. ahead 3-0 with 4:15 to go. KK Clark scored on a long-distance shot with 1:56 on the clock, and Courtney Mathewson made it 5-0 to the U.S. 40 seconds later. Brazil brought goalkeeper Victoria Chamorro in to substitute for starter Tess Oliveira. Brazil’s Amanda Oliveira had a couple of big shots during the first period but U.S. goalkeeper Ashleigh Johnson blocked them.
The second period unfolded in much the same way. The U.S. scored three goals and kept the defensive pressure on, preventing Brazil from finding the net. Maggie Steffens scored on a power play within the first 25 seconds to put the Americans up 6-0. Melissa Seidemann and Kaleigh Gilchrist both scored later in the period to give the U.S. an 8-0 advantage heading into the halftime break.
The United States dominated the third period with a relentless offense and a strong defense, adding five more goals and holding the Brazilians scoreless. Makenzie Fischer was first to score with a power play goal with 7:38 left. Neushul connected at 6:57 on the clock to put the U.S. up 10-0. Over the next two minutes Fischer and Gilchrist each scored their second goals of the game. Steffens found the net with :28 left to play in the quarter.
The fourth period began with the United States up 13-0. Sami Hill started in the goal for the Americans. Izabella Chiappini connected for Brazil’s first goal with 5:49 to go. Gabriela Mantellato scored three minutes later, and Mariana Duarte made it 3 for the Brazilians with :18 left to play. The clock ran out and the final score was 13-3 in favor of the U.S.
Adam Krikorian, the U.S. coach, summed up his team’s performance after the game. “No one likes to talk about defense, it’s not sexy. I thought our defense was great in the first three quarters but I’m not happy with how we played the fourth. I thought we relaxed. It was a little disappointing as we’ve got to play better defense. We got a little lazy and we know in the next two games we’ve got to be sharp for a full four quarters otherwise we’re not going to get the job done. We know there are bigger tests ahead.”
He added, “I can’t say enough about these Brazilian fans, they were awesome and some of the best I’ve ever seen. To continue supporting their team when they are down 13-0, just how loud it was, it was just incredible. I didn’t like to see their three goals scored at the end but I did enjoy listening to the enthusiasm from the crowd.”
Here are a few highlights, courtesy of NBC Olympics on Twitter:
#USA beat #BRA 13-3, the HIGHEST-EVER margin for an Olympic knockout women’s Water Polo game https://t.co/U7N0OrR4zh https://t.co/CY8LSvSXt2
— NBC Olympics (@NBCOlympics) August 15, 2016
Scoring – Scoresheet
USA 13 (5, 3, 5, 0) M. Steffens 2, K. Neushul 2, K. Gilchrist 2, M. Fischer 2, C. Mathewson 1, K. Clark 1, M. Seidemann 1, M. Musselman 1, K. Craig
BRA 3 (0, 0, 0, 3) I. Chiappini, M. Duarte 1, G. Mantellato 1
Saves – USA – A. Johnson 6, S. Hill 1 – BRA – V. Chamorro 1
6×5 – USA – 2/6 – BRA – 0/3
Penalties – USA – 1/1 – BRA 0/0