The U.S. women’s water polo team avenged a loss to Australia not only from earlier this week in the FINA Intercontinental Tournament but also in last year’s tournament final with a 10-7 win for the gold medal in Auckland, New Zealand, on Sunday.
When the U.S. women earned silver at the 2017 Intercontinental Tournament, it marked the team’s first major loss at a tournament in four years.
The reigning Olympic and world champions lost to Australia to open this year’s tournament 9-8, and it appeared the Americans were in danger of doing so again in the first half.
“It’s always a tough game and we didn’t start the way we’d wanted to and got ripped at halftime by our coach,” U.S. captain Melissa Seidemann said.
“He told us they were playing better than us. It wasn’t so much the two goal difference it was the physical presence, the lack of effort, we weren’t getting blocks on in defense.”
The U.S. trailed 5-3 at the half but scored four unanswered goals to start the second to surge into the lead. At the end of the third quarter, the U.S. held a 7-6 advantage, and capitalized as Australia ran into foul trouble in the fourth by adding another three goals to seal the victory. Stephanie Haralabidis and Kaleigh Gilchrist each scored three goals, and Seidemann contributed a pair in the victory. Two of Gilchrist’s came in the fourth quarter.
Gilchrist and Seidemann were two of the three Olympic champions on the team, along with Rachel Fattal.