Courtesy: USA Water Polo
Athens, Greece – June 18 – The USA Women’s National Team will have the opportunity to defend their crown at the FINA World League Super Final following a 17-8 win over Russia earlier today in semi-final play. Maddie Musselman, Makenzie Fischer and Stephania Haralabidis all scored three goals in the win while Ashleigh Johnson recorded 11 saves in net. Team USA will now take on Hungary in the final on Saturday at 1:15pm et/10:15am pt. Follow live stats by clicking here, live streaming will be available for viewers in the United States via FloSports (subscription required). A win tomorrow would give Team USA their seventh straight Super Final title and 14th in program history.
For the first time in the tournament Team USA didn’t score first, as Russia snared the early lead on a Maria Borisova goal. Maddie Musselman continued her strong starts at the Super Final leveling the score moments later. Maggie Steffens followed not long after with the first of her two goals to put Team USA ahead 2-1. Russia responded with a goal from Ekaterina Prokofyeva for a 2-2 game halfway through the quarter. The United States took the lead back and then some behind two straight goals from Fischer and Haralabidis for a 4-2 advantage. Russia drew back within one but Melissa Seidemann had the final word, connecting with just three seconds left for a 5-3 lead after one.
That first quarter was as close as things would get in this one. Team USA pounced in the second quarter blanking Russia 4-0 to take a 9-3 lead at intermission. Fischer, Musselman, Alys Williams and and Aria Fischer all found the back of the net to build a six goal margin. The United States put the match away in the third scoring the first three goals out of the gate. Again it was Musselman, Williams and Makenize Fischer cashing in, this time for a 12-3 lead with 3:06 to play in the quarter. Russia and Team USA would trade goals to end the period, making it 13-4 going to the fourth.
Russia’s offense resurfaced in the fourth but the damage had been done. Team USA equaled the four goal Russian output on the way to the 17-8 victory. Russia scored to open the period only to have the United States respond with goals from Steffens and Rachel Fattal. The two teams traded goals the rest of the way with Haralabidis closing out the scoring with less than thirty seconds left to cap the victory.
Team USA went 4/14 on power plays and 4/4 on penalties while Russia went 2/9 on power plays and did not attempt any penalty shots.
Scoring – Stats
USA 17 (5, 4, 4, 4) M. Musselman 3, S. Haralabidis 3, M. Fischer 3, A. Williams 2, A. Fischer 2, M. Steffens 2, M. Seidemann 1, R. Fattal 1
RUS 8 (3, 0, 1, 4) M. Bersneva 1, E. Prokofyeva 1, E. Karimova 1, M. Borisova 1, A. Simanovich 1, A. Timofeeva 1, E. Ivanova 1, N. Glyzina 1
Saves – USA – A. Johnson 11 – RUS – E. Golovina 8
6×5 – USA – 4/14 – RUS – 2/9
Penalties – USA – 4/4 – RUS – 0/0