Courtesy: USA Water Polo
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Another capacity crowd cheered on the USA Women’s National Team to another victory over Australia, this time a 14-3 win at Santa Barbara High School.
The victory capped a three-game sweep for Team USA over their longtime rivals and served as a fitting cap to a day that honored retired three-time Olympic medalist Kami Craig (Santa Barbara, CA/USC/NYAC). Kiley Neushul (Isla Vista, CA/Stanford/NYAC) and Jordan Raney (Manhattan Beach, CA/Stanford/Huntington Beach WP) each scored three goals to lead the offense while Ashleigh Johnson (Miami, FL/Princeton/NYAC) and Amanda Longan (Moorpark, CA/USC/Santa Barbara 805) combined for seven saves in net.
In the pool where she played her high school water polo, Craig capped up for Team USA for one final time playing a few minutes in the first quarter. A few attempts to get Craig free for a goal fell short but it was all smiles for the two-time Olympic champion who was honored at halftime for decade-plus run on the National Team. To watch a full replay of the match including the halftime ceremony, click here.
For the third straight game Kiley Neushul started the scoring getting Team USA on the board early for a 1-0 lead. Again Team USA would have a strong defensive showing in the first half holding Australia scoreless. They built a 2-0 lead after the first quarter and a 4-0 lead after the second quarter. Early in the third Hannah Buckling got Australia on the board for a 4-1 game but Team USA quickly responded scoring four in a row to go in front 8-1.
Kiley Neushul and Rachel Fattal (Seal Beach, CA/UCLA/SOCAL) jumpstarted that run to take the commanding advantage into the fourth quarter. The offensive onslaught only continued in the fourth quarter as the United States exploded for six more goals. Australia would score twice but it was no match for another goal from Neushul and two more from Raney to secure the 14-3 lead.
Notes: Kami Craig retirement announcement, click here. This game was originally scheduled for December of 2017 but was rescheduled following wildfires in Santa Barbara. Team USA will now travel to Surgut, Russia for the 2018 FINA World Cup taking place September 4-9. The Team USA roster for this event will be announced this week. The United States has won the last two FINA World Cup titles (2010, 2014).
Scoring – Scoresheet
USA 14 (2, 2, 4, 6) K. Neushul 3, J. Raney 3, R. Fattal 2, S. Haralabidis 1, P. Hauschild 1, M. Steffens 1, A. Fischer 1, M. Fischer 1, A. Williams 1
AUS 3 (0, 0, 1, 2)
Saves – USA – A. Longan 4, A. Johnson 3
Referees – Jen McCall, Danielle Dabbaghian