The US Senior Women’s National Team will face rivals Australia in the gold medal match of the 2014 FINA Women’s Water Polo World Cup in Russia on Sunday. The Americans have had a surprisingly smooth path to the finals with lopsided wins over Singapore, South Africa, Hungary and China, whom they met in the semis. In their most competitive match of the prelims the Americans defeated the Stingers 8-6, a game the US led throughout.
European champions Spain were the surprising under-performers in the opposite bracket losing 8-2 to the Aussies in the semifinals after a preliminary round loss to tournament hosts Russia, 7-6.
Adam Krikorian’s squad will attempt to win a third high-profile tournament in a row after gold medal performances over the Netherlands and Italy at this summer’s Kirishi Cup and FINA World League Super Final. The Americans will attempt to avenge a May loss to Australia in the FINA Intercontinental Tournament championship match in Riverside, CA.
Of note is the rise of young collegians Sami Hill and Ashley Johnson, who have both been effective wile sharing net-minding duties throughout the tournament. Princeton University’s Johnson earned the starting job in the team’s semifinal match and made 11 saves versus the Chinese. With a full day’s rest Hill, from UCLA, could be poised to start the final match against Australia.