Courtesy: USA Water Polo
KUNSHAN, China – The USA Women’s National Team will play for gold at the FINA World League Super Final after defeating Russia 8-3 in semifinal play. Kaleigh Gilchrist (Newport Beach, CA/USC/NYAC), Jamie Neushul (Isla Vista, CA/Stanford/NYAC) and Kiley Neushul (Isla Vista, CA/Stanford/NYAC) scored two goals each in the victory with Ashleigh Johnson (Miami, FL/Princeton/NYAC) getting the win in net with 11 saves.
Team USA will take on the Netherlands in the final on Saturday at 7:30am et/4:30am pt. The match will stream live on FINA TV (subscription required) and can be accessed by clicking here. For more information on day five of the FINA World League Super Final, click here.
Team USA took an early 1-0 lead and eventually built a 3-1 advantage at the end of the first quarter. They further took control of the match in the second quarter holding Russia scoreless while adding three more goals for a 6-1 lead at halftime. Russia drew to within 7-2 in the third before another goal from Gilchrist closed the scoring in the quarter, leaving the United States ahead 8-2. Russia added a goal in the fourth on a power play score but it wouldn’t factor in the decision as Team USA took the match 8-3.
The United States went 2/8 on the advantage while Russia was 1/6 with neither side attempting a penalty. It was the second victory over Russia this week for Team USA as they won 10-7 in group play. The Netherlands defeated Canada 11-5 to advance to the final on the other side of the bracket.
“Semifinals are always exciting. It gives us a chance to win and play for first place,” said Team USA’s Aria Fischer. “We always get super excited and the team comes together to play for one goal. The best thing today was our defense. Russia is great offensively, but it was our team defense today. We now have to analyze what went wrong, go back to the drawing board and fix it for the final.”
The gold medal match is a rematch of the 2015 FINA World Championship final and the 2008 Olympic Games final. Team USA won in 2015, the Netherlands winning in 2008. If Team USA wins tomorrow it will be their 12th FINA World League Super Final title in program history and fifth straight.
USA 8 (3, 3, 2, 0) K. Gilchrist 2, K. Neushul 2, J. Neushul 2, M. Seidemann 1, M. Steffens 1
RUS 3 (1, 0, 1, 1) A. Timofeeva 1, E. Ivanova 1, A. Serzhantova 1Saves – USA – A. Johnson 11
6×5 – USA – 2/8 – RUS 1/6
Penalties – USA – 0/0 – RUS – 0/0