Courtesy: USA Water Polo
GWANGJU, South Korea – The USA Women’s National Team advanced to the semifinal round of the FINA World Championship following a 15-5 win over Greece. Maddie Musselman (Newport Beach, CA/UCLA/CdM Aquatics) scored four goals, including three in the fourth quarter, to lead the offense with Ashleigh Johnson (Miami, FL/Princeton/NYAC) piling up eight saves in net.
Team USA will now meet Australia in semifinal action on July 24 at 5pm local time/4am et/1am pt. The match will air live on Olympic Channel and can be streamed by clicking here. The match will also re-air on NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) at 7pm et/4pm pt. The victory over Greece will re-air on NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) on July 22 at 11pm et/8pm pt.
Team USA made a statement in the first quarter opening up with a 4-0 lead behind single goals from Alys Williams (Huntington Beach, CA/UCLA/Huntington Beach WPF), Aria Fischer (Laguna Beach, CA/Stanford/SET) and two from Makenzie Fischer (Laguna Beach, CA/Stanford/SET). After Team USA opened the second quarter with another goal, Greece came back with two straight to make it 5-2. The United States had an answer with three straight goals from Stephania Haralabidis (Athens, Greece/USC/NYAC), Maggie Steffens (Danville, CA/Stanford/NYAC) and Rachel Fattal (Seal Beach, CA/UCLA/SOCAL) to take an 8-2 lead at halftime.
In the third quarter Greece again looked to rally scoring two in a row only to have Team USA respond once more. This time Aria Fischer and Musselman cashed in with goals for a 10-4 lead after three quarters. Greece closed to within 11-5 with 5:23 to play in the match and then Musselman took over. The Super Final MVP fired in three straight goals to leave no doubt about the outcome pushing the USA advantage to 14-5 on the way to a 15-5 victory.
Team USA went 5/8 on power plays while Greece was 2/5 with neither side attempting a penalty shot. The victory gives Team USA their 51st straight win and fourth straight win over Greece in the last four weeks.
Scoring – Stats
USA 15 (4, 4, 2, 5) M. Musselman 4, A. Fischer 2, M. Fischer 2, M. Steffens 1, K. Gilchrist 1, A. Williams 1, S. Haralabidis 1, M. Seidemann 1, R. Fattal 1, K. Neushul 1
GRE 5 (0, 2, 2, 1) N. Eleftheriadou 2, E. Xenaki 2, A. Avramidou 1
Saves – USA – A. Johnson 7 – GRE – I. Stamatopoulou 8
6×5 – USA – 5/8 – GRE 2/5