Irvine, CA – May 26 – A capacity crowd lined the pool deck at Beckman High School in Irvine, CA on Thursday night and were treated to a low scoring affair that saw the USA Water Polo Women’s National Team drop a 5-4 decision to Australia. The setback marked Team USA’s first loss in 2016 as they wrapped up a three game series with the Aussies, winning two of three matches. Nicola Zagame’s goal with 49 seconds left in the fourth quarter proved to be the game winner. A final attempt for Team USA resulted in a turnover. Four different scorers found the net for Team USA with Sami Hill (Santa Barbara, CA/UCLA/Santa Barbara) recording five saves in goal. The United States now prepares for a visit to China to compete in the Kunshan Cup and FINA World League Super Final in early June.
Rachel Fattal (Seal Beach, CA/UCLA/SOCAL) opened the scoring with a goal roughly two minutes into the match to give Team USA a 1-0 advantage. Australia broke through with a score from Ash Southern with just one second left in the opening quarter to even the match at 1-1. Australia took their first lead midway through the second period on a Rowie Webster goal only to see Melissa Seidemann (Walnut Creek, CA/Stanford/NYAC) counter with a power play goal to tie the game with 3:47 left in the half.
After Fattal failed on a penalty shot try, the United States kept the possession alive and found Maddie Musselman(Newport Beach, CA/Corona del Mar HS/CdM Aquatics) right in front of the cage for a goal and a 3-2 lead. The advantage was short-lived as Australia cashed in a power play goal from Bronwen Knox on their next possession for a 3-3 game at halftime. Neither side could find the back of the net in the third as both keepers pitched a shutout, leaving the match at 3-3 going to the fourth.
Gemma Beadsworth put Australia in front early in the fourth quarter before Maggie Steffens (Danville, CA/Stanford/NYAC) responded with a tally at the 3:46 mark to tie the game at 4-4. That set the stage for the final moments and the winning goal from Zagame.
Team USA went 2/8 on power plays and 0/1 on penalty shots while Australia was 2/7 on power plays and did not attempt a penalty.
USA 4 (1, 2, 0, 1) M. Musselman 1, M. Steffens 1, M. Seidemann 1, R. Fattal 1
AUS 5 (1, 2, 0, 2) G. Beadsworth 1, B. Knox 1, R. Webster 1, N. Zagame 1, A. Southern
Saves – USA – S. Hill 5 – AUS – L. Yanitsas 9
6×5 – USA – 2/8 – AUS – 2/7
Penalties – USA – 0/1 – AUS – 0/0
Swimming news courtesy of USA Water Polo.