Makenzie Fischer’s (Laguna Beach, CA/Stanford/SET) goal as time expired gave the USA Women’s National Team a 13-12 victory over Russia and capped a wild second half as Team USA claimed first place in Group A at the FINA World League Super Final. Fischer scored three goals, two in the final 37 seconds, to lead Team USA on offense while Mia Rycraw (Walnut, CA/Arizona State/Sun Devil) made six saves in net. Team USA now advances to meet Australia in quarterfinal action at 4:20am et/1:20am pt on Friday. Live streaming is available via FINA TV and can be accessed by clicking here.
Match Report via FINA.org/Russell McKinnon
USA secured victory at the death knock, the winning goal skimming through the air as the final buzzer sounded. It was Makenzie Fischer who stood up and scored in an amazing finish to an amazing match. So much happened in the final seconds, but it was a match of many facets. It was Makenzie Fischer who broke the deadlock in the first quarter for the lead.
It was Rachel Fattal (Seal Beach, CA/UCLA/SOCAL) and Kiley Neushul (Goleta, CA/Stanford/NYAC) who broke the deadlock in the second quarter where an incredible 11 goals were scored. It was Kiley Neushul again in the third who clinched a one-goal advantage with two seconds remaining. And then came the tumultuous final period when Russia exploded — coming back from a three-goal deficit to level at 8-8 in the third and then again to level at 10 in the third. Russia was rampant, fouling all over the pool in an effort to upset the North Americans. While the foul count mounted (ultimately 14-7), Russia scored twice midway in the fourth to go ahead for the first time at 4:09, Anna Timofeeva screaming in a centre-forward backhand.
Kiley Neushul had a chance to equalise at 2:25, but decided to pass off. Maria Borisova lobbed into the bottom right post, which could have been the kiss of death for USA. Next attack, Russia’s Timofeeva failed to pass to Borisova, who could have possibly drawn a penalty foul. USA took a timeout at 0:52 and 15 seconds later, Makenzie Fischer scored from a 5m shot for 12-12.
Russia went upfield and finally Russian head coach Aleksandr Gaydukov called a timeout with just three seconds of possession left. He talked for the full 60 seconds and it appeared the players did not know what to do with those three seconds. There was one pass and the ball was turned over in the middle of the pool, not even a tactical dump. USA rifled the ball deep left and Olga Gorbunova buried her attacker and was ejected. The USA attacker fumbled the ball, fed off to Fischer and she had the foresight and will to shoot, earning a fantastic match and group A victory.
Group A: USA 9, Russia 5, Netherlands 4, Japan 0.
Group B: Canada 8, Hungary 7, China 3, Australia 0.
USA 13 (4, 6, 1, 2) M. Fischer 3, R. Fattal 2, K. Neushul 2, J. Raney 2, A. Fischer 1, M. Musselman 1, J. Neushul 1, A. Williams 1
RUS 12 (3, 5, 2, 2)
Saves – USA – Rycraw 6
6×5 – USA – 5/13 – RUS – 4/8
Penalties – USA – 0/0 – RUS – 1/1