The USA women’s water polo team will play in the final game of the World Championships for the third time in a row. The Americans, who won gold medals in 2015 and 2017, defeated Australia in the first semifinal match at the World Championships in Gwangju. The spectators saw only 9 goals. The USA beat the “Aussies” thanks to the excellent defense. In the end, it was 7:2 on the scoreboard.
USA – Australia 7:2 (3:0, 2:0, 1:1, 1:1)
USA: Longan, Musselman, Seidemann, Fattal 1, Hauschild, Steffens , Haralabidis 2, K. Neushul, A. Fischer , Gilchrist, M. Fischer 2, A. Williams 2, A. Johnson (14 saves). Head coach: Krikorian.
Australia: Palm (9 saves), Gofers, Buckling , Halligan 1, Bishop, Knox, Webster, Ridge 1, Arancini, Mihailovic, Armit, Steere, Yanitsas. Head coach: Mihailovic.
Extra player: USA 10 (3), Australia 11 (1).
The final score tells everything about the match. The USA finished the job in the first half.
Only the first four minutes were balanced. There were a few misses and saves on both sides. Alys Williams opened the series of the Americans’ goals in the 5th minute. By the end of the first half, the USA added four goals, while they didn’t allow a single one and earned a nice 5:0 lead at halftime.
Australia didn’t have the right solutions in front of the USA team’s goal. Ashleigh Johnson, the Americans’ goalkeeper, did a good job. But, the „Stingers“ didn’t lose self-confidence. They fight hard until the last buzzer.
Australia broke the deadlock 3:38 minutes into the 3rd period. Rowie Webster hit the back of the net for 1:6. After that, there were no goals for a long time. The USA slowed down and saved energy for the final. Two minutes before the end, Halligan scored the 2nd goal for the „Aussies“. Alys Williams responded quickly to set the final score 7: 2, with 53 seconds remaining on the clock.
Australia will play for the bronze medal and for the Olympic ticket, too. The USA team has already qualified for the 2020 Olympic Games (as the World League winner), so the 3rd placed team and the American’s rival in the final will secure a spot at the Olympic Games.
Adam Krikorian, USA head coach, said after the match:
-It was really good defensively for the whole game. I thought our defense in front of Ashleigh Johnson (goalkeeper) was phenomenal. When it broke down she saved us with her best game of the tournament so far. Our offence relaxed a little bit, so we need to be sharper from the offset (in the gold-medal final). We struggled a bit on six on five. We have to play four quarters of good water polo in the final, not just turn up.”
Rebecca Rippon, an assistant coach of the Australian team commented:
-We were happy with the way the girls played. There were a couple of goals let in that we shouldn’t have, but we were happy with our defense. In the second half we were a bit more aggressive on attack. We will look for areas to improve and fix them for the bronze medal match.
(Quotes source: FINA)
USA -Australia 7:2
Spain – Hungary
Matches for places 5 – 12: Russia and Italy eyeing 5th place