Toronto, Canada – July 12 – The U.S. Pan American Women’s Water Polo Team will play for gold at the 2015 Pan American Games after defeating Brazil 16-3 earlier tonight.
Courtney Mathewson (Anaheim Hills, CA/UCLA/NYAC) and Maggie Steffens (Danville, CA/Stanford/Diablo) scored three goals each while Sami Hill (Santa Barbara, CA/UCLA/Santa Barbara) was dominant in net turning aside 15 shots.
Team USA moves on to meet Canada on Tuesday evening in the final at 8pm et/5pm pt in a rematch of the 2011 Pan Am final, won by Team USA 27-26 in a shootout. Unlike 2011, this match won’t determine an Olympic Games qualifier as the two rivals square off for the fourth time in 2015. No video of the match is available but fans can follow along via Twitter by following @USAWP.
Team USA wasted little time taking the lead in this one as Kami Craig (Santa Barbara, CA/USC/Santa Barbara) shook loose a defender for a score in close and a 1-0 lead with 6:44 to play in the first. Brazil answered immediately with a goal from Marina Zablith to tie the match at one, but that would be as close as they would get. Mathewson lit the lamp twice in the span of thirty seconds and the United States held a 3-1 lead after opening period.
In the second the United States offense switched into high gear. Maddie Musselman (Newport Beach, CA/Corona del Mar HS/CdM Aquatics) took a perfect pass from Rachel Fattal (Seal Beach, CA/UCLA/SOCAL) for an easy goal and a 4-1 lead. Steffens found the back of the net 90 seconds later for a 5-1 lead. Brazil looked to rally with a tally from Helene Badocco to draw within 5-2. Team USA then proceeded to run off four straight goals from four different scorers to close out the first half for a 9-2 lead at intermission. Fattal, Melissa Seidemann (Walnut Creek, CA/Stanford/NYAC), KK Clark (Menlo Park, CA/UCLA/NAC), and Steffens all found the net to build the lead.
It was more of the same in the third period. Kiley Neushul (Goleta, CA/Stanford/Santa Barbara) started it off with a goal and Makenzie Fischer (Laguna Beach, CA/Laguna Beach HS/SET) followed to grab an 11-2 lead. Mathewson, Steffens, and Kaleigh Gilchrist (Newport Beach, CA/USC/Trojan) scored to close out the period and the United States went ahead 14-2 going to the final quarter.
The scoring slowed down in the fourth quarter but the outcome was already in hand. Musselman and Seidemann each scored once and the United States won going away 16-3. Team USA went 4/7 on power plays and 0/1 on penalty shots while Brazil was 2/8 on power plays and did not attempt a penalty shot.
Team USA is 3-0 vs Canada thus far in 2015 with winning scores of 11-9, 10-8, and 9-3.
Scoring – Scoresheet
USA 14 (3, 6, 5, 2) C. Mathewson 3, M. Steffens 3, M. Musselman 2, M. Seidemann 2, K. Neushul 1, K. Gilchrist 1, M. Fischer 1, K. Craig 1,K. Clark 1, R. Fattal 1
BRA 3 (1, 1, 0, 1) M. Zablith 1, H. Badocco 1, M. Dias 1
Saves – USA – S. Hill 15 – BRA – T. Oliveira 2 – V. Chamorro 1
6×5 – USA 4/7 – BRA – 2/8
Penalties – USA – 0/1 – BRA – 0/0
Swimming news courtesy of USA Water Polo.