The top-ranked U.S. women’s water polo team will have a shot at its third straight FINA World Cup title after defeating Spain in the semifinals Saturday 11-5 in Surgut, Russia.
Team USA won the every-four-years World Cup title in 2010 and again in 2014 and will now play host Russia — which beat Australia 5-2 — for gold on Sunday in the last major tournament of the year. The victory was also the Americans’ 25th straight. The Americans also won the inaugural World Cup in 1979.
Should they win gold again this year, the U.S. women will have established the longest World Cup win streak in 25 years. The Netherlands won four straight in 1988, 1989, 1991 and 1993.
The U.S. went up 3-0 in the first quarter of its semifinal — all on power-play goals, two by Jamie Neushul — and extended that to 5-0, entering halftime holding a 7-3 lead.
Paige Hauschild led the U.S. in scoring with three goals followed by Neushul and Makenzie Fischer with two goals apiece, while goalkeeper Ashleigh Johnson had 10 saves. The Americans scored on seven of 11 power plays and converted both penalty shots.
Led by Rachel Fattal with four goals and goalkeeper Amanda Longan with 13 saves, the U.S. defeated China 15-5 in the quarterfinals on Friday to advance to the semifinals.
The tournament roster includes seven 2016 Olympic champions: Maggie Steffens, Johnson, Fattal, Kiley Neushul, Aria Fischer, Makenzie Fischer and Kaleigh Gilchrist.