Halfway through the U.S. women’s water polo team’s match against the Netherlands on Saturday night, it appeared a historic winning streak could be in danger.
Those fears evaporated in the second half as Team USA cruised to an 11-5 victory, closing out the Canada Cup in Montreal with win No. 63 in a row.
When the team hit its 50th win in a row over the summer, it was believed to be the longest streak in the Olympic era of women’s water polo, which began in 2000. Now Team USA just keeps adding to a record and the proof of the team’s dominance. It went on to become the first team ever to win three consecutive world championship titles and its sixth overall before the summer was over, and next year in Tokyo it will be going for a third straight Olympic medal.
Tied 2-2 at halftime, the U.S. stormed back in the third quarter and really opened things up in the fourth to secure the victory. Eight different players scored, led by Maddie Musselman, Rachel Fattal and Makenzie Fischer with two apiece. Ashleigh Johnson made 11 saves.
The U.S. kicked off the tournament with an 18-13 win over Russia as Musselman exploded with four goals. The U.S. led 10-8 at halftime after back-and-forth action throughout the first quarter and an attempt from Russia to get back ahead before the break. The U.S. wasn’t allowing it, however, with Johnson making eight saves and Gabby Stone two, and the defense helping to make any further tries by Russia to jump ahead futile.
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The second game was a much lower-scoring affair, but one with the same result as the U.S. beat China, 8-6. Fattal scored three goals while this time it was Amanda Longan and Stone who shared time in net. After jumping out to a 5-0 advantage the U.S. never squandered the lead, despite China’s best efforts with three goals to cut the lead to one late in the game. Jordan Raney scored on the power play with 48 seconds remaining to cement another victory.
Next up was a Friday the 13th matchup against the host nation, but the U.S. didn’t need any luck in securing a 10-6 victory. Melissa Seidemann, Fattal and Fischer each scored two goals in the win while Stone made six saves and Longan three. After being tied at the half, 5-5, the U.S. scored three goals in the third quarter and another two in the fourth while clamping down on defense and allowing Canada just one.
The U.S. will next play in the Holiday Cup, which it hosts Dec. 16-21 in Princeton, New Jersey.
Karen Price is a reporter from Pittsburgh who has covered Olympic and Paralympic sports for various publications. She is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.