Courtesy: USA Water Polo
Princeton, NJ – December 21 – The USA Water Polo Women’s National Team finished 2019 undefeated defeating the Netherlands 12-6 to claim the 2019 Holiday Cup title. Team USA ends 2019 with a 37-0 record and runs their win streak to 68 straight games. Kiley Neushul (Isla Vista, CA/Stanford/NYAC) scored four goals to lead the offense while Ashleigh Johnson (Miami, FL/Princeton/NYAC) added 12 saves in net in a return to her college pool at Princeton University. In the third place match it was Russia defeating Italy 14-9 for their second straight victory. All matches except those played on December 18 were streamed live and can be accessed on-demand at Facebook.com/USAWP. For complete Holiday Cup results and box scores, click here.
After the two teams combined for nearly 50 goals on Tuesday night in a 23-22 shootout win for Team USA, the title match started off much slower. Team USA defense bottled up the efforts of the Netherlands as they allowed just one goal in the first half on the way to an 8-1 lead. Neushul, Alys Williams (Huntington Beach, CA/UCLA/Huntington Beach WPF), Maddie Musselman (Newport Beach, CA/UCLA/CdM Aquatics) and Makenzie Fischer (Laguna Beach, CA/Stanford/SET) powered Team USA to a 4-0 lead after one.
In the second quarter Neushul scored the first two of the quarter for a 6-0 lead. After the Netherlands broke through with their first goal, Musselman scored two of the next three for a 9-1 lead with 3:27 to play in the third. The Netherlands looked to rally and scored four of the next to five to climb within five at 10-5 with 4:31 to play. Fischer and Neushul would make sure things got no closer as they added goals to close out the 12-6 win.
Team USA went 2/5 on power plays with no penalties attempted while the Netherlands went 0/9 on power plays and 1/2 on penalties.
Elvina Karimova and Anastasia Fedotova scored three goals each in pacing Russia to the 14-9 win over Italy.
The final standings for the 2019 Holiday Cup saw Team USA in first, Netherlands in second, Russia in third, Italy in fourth and Canada in fifth.
USA 12 (4, 4, 1, 3) K. Neushul 4, M. Musselman 3, M. Fischer 2, A. Williams 2, J. Neushul 1
NED 6 (0, 1, 1, 4) B. Sleeking 2, D. Genee 2, M. Megens 1, I. Wolves 1
Saves – USA – A. Johnson 12 – NED – J. Koenders 9, D. Willemsz 3
6×5 – USA – 2/5 – NED – 0/9
Penalties – USA – 0/0 – NED – 1/2