The following is a press release courtesy of USA Water Polo:
Toronto, Canada – July 14 – The U.S. Pan American Women’s Water Polo Team won their fourth straight Pan Am Games Gold Medal earlier tonightafter defeating Canada 13-4.Maggie Steffens (Danville, CA/Stanford/Diablo) and Courtney Mathewson (Anaheim Hills, CA/UCLA/NYAC) scored four goals each while Ashleigh Johnson (Miami, FL/Princeton/Miami Riptides) went the distance in net recording 12 saves. The victory caps an undefeated tournament for Team USA that saw victories over Mexico, Cuba, Argentina, Brazil, and Canada.
Canada struck first in the opening two minutes as Monika Eggens found the net on a power play for a 1-0 lead. That would be the Canadians only lead of the match as Team USA took over from there. Mathewson got things cooking for the USA offense scoring two goals in the span of a minute for a 2-1 lead with 5:11 to play. Melissa Seidemann (Walnut Creek, CA/Stanford/NYAC) delivered on an outside score with less than four minutes to play and Team USA built a 3-1 lead. Canada would keep things close with a power play strike from Joelle Bekhazi late in the period to leave the United States up 3-2 after the first period.
Team USA got off to a strong start in the second quarter when Maddie Musselman(Newport Beach, CA/Corona del Mar HS/CdM Aquatics) floated a lob into the cage for a 4-2 lead. Some four minutes later Steffens cashed in on her first goal for a 5-2 game. With :24 left in the first half Mathewson scored another for a 6-2 lead. That looked to be the score going into halftime but Canada’s Krystina Alogbo connected for a goal right as the halftime buzzer sounded for a 6-3 score at intermission.
In the third quarter Team USA put the match to bed with a bevy of goals. Steffens hit from the outside for a 7-3 lead with 6:17 to play. After Kiley Neushul (Goleta, CA/Stanford/Santa Barbara) failed to convert a penalty drawn by Kami Craig(Santa Barbara, CA/USC/Santa Barbara), she earned redemption with a power play goal and an 8-3 lead. Steffens followed at the 2:32 mark with another power play goal for a 9-3 lead. Rachel Fattal (Seal Beach, CA/UCLA/SOCAL) capped the scoring in the third quarter with a score from the perimeter to take a 10-3 advantage.
Mathewson continued to pour it on in the fourth scoring in the opening minute for an 11-3 lead. Eggens came back with a score for Canada to cut the deficit to 11-4. A minute later Ashley Grossman (Santa Monica, CA/Stanford/LAWPC) drew a penalty and Steffens cashed in for a 12-4 game with5:25 left. With the game already in hand the United States added two more statements. Kaleigh Gilchrist (Newport Beach, CA/USC/Trojan) scored on a penalty for a 13-4 lead. Then with 1:58 left, Johnson sealed the deal from the cage, blocking a penalty attempt by Canada securing the victory.
Team USA went 3/9 on the power play and 2/3 on penalties while Canada 4/9 on power plays and 0-1 on penalties.
Scoring – Score Sheet
USA 13 (3, 3, 4, 3) M. Steffens 4, C. Mathewson 4, M. Musselman 1, M. Seidemann 1, R. Fattal 1, K. Gilchrist 1, K. Neushul 1
CAN 4 (2, 1, 0, 1) M. Eggens 2, J. Bekhazi 1, K. Alogbo 1
Saves – USA – A. Johnson – 12 – CAN – J. Gaudreault – 6
6×5 – USA – 3/9 – CAN – 4/9
Penalties – USA – 2/3 – CAN 0/1