The U.S. women’s water polo team defeated Greece 11-8 in a shootout to win the Kunshan Cup on Saturday in Kunshan, China.
Goalie Mia Rycraw had eight saves and blocked all three attempts by Greece in the shootout, and Maddie Musselman led the Americans offensively with four goals in the victory.
The tournament was a preliminary event for the FINA World League Super Final, which begins on Tuesday in Shanghai. There the U.S. team will look to rebound from its first major international tournament loss in four years after finishing second at the Intercontinental Tournament in early May.
Team USA trailed for most of Saturday’s gold-medal match. Greece held a 2-1 lead after the first quarter and a 5-3 lead at halftime. With a four-goal deficit in the third quarter, the U.S. team began its comeback, but still trailed 7-4 after three quarters.
The U.S. team dominated from the fourth quarter on, outscoring Greece 4-1 to tie the score at 8-8 after regulation and move to the shootout. The Americans scored on their first three opportunities, while Rycraw shut the Greeks down, and the match ended after just three shootout rounds with the U.S. team victorious.
Team USA opened the tournament 3-0, beating the Netherlands, China and Russia in pool play by a combined score of 37-18. Eight different players scored goals, and Rycraw made 11 saves in the first three games.
The Americans advanced to the semifinals by beating Japan 10-1 and then easily defeated Russia 17-3 to advance to the title game.
The U.S. roster included Olympic veterans Melissa Seidemann, Aria Fischer, Makenzie Fischer, Kiley Neushul and Musselman, but they were playing without Maggie Steffens and Rachel Fattal, who were finalists for the Cutino Award and stayed behind to attend the ceremony on Saturday. They will join the team in China for the Super League Final.