The U.S. women’s water polo team continued its winning ways and successfully defended its FINA World Cup title with an 8-5 victory over host Russia in the final Sunday in Surgut, Russia.
The Americans have now won 26 games in a row. In their six World Cup matches, Team USA outscored opponents 95-21.
This is Team USA’s fourth World Cup title and third in a row (1979, 2010, 2014), edging closer to the Netherlands’ World Cup win streak of four from 1988-93.
Maggie Steffens, who helped the team to back-to-back Olympic gold medals in 2012 and 2016, led the team in scoring with three goals on six shots and was named MVP while Jamie Neushul contributed two goals on three shots.
Paige Hauschild, a USC sophomore who scored seven goals in one game during the tournament, added one goal. Coming into the game, she was tied with Spain’s Anna Espar Llaquet for the tournament lead in scoring with 15 goals.
Sisters Aria and Makenzie Fischer, who won Olympic gold in 2016, also scored for the U.S. and goalkeeper Ashleigh Johnson made 14 saves, limiting the Russians to just one goal in each of the first three quarters as the U.S. built up a 7-3 lead heading into the fourth.
Russia was playing in the World Cup final for the first time in 21 years after defeating Australia in the semifinal Saturday. The U.S. defeated Spain to reach the final.
The win means the U.S. maintains its hold on all major women’s water polo titles: Olympic Games, world championships, World League, World Cup. Team USA also holds the Pan American Games and Intercontinental Tournament titles.