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U.S. Women’s Water Polo Wins Semifinal, Will Play Familiar Foe For Third Straight World Title

By Todd Kortemeier | July 24, 2019, 10:40 a.m. (ET)

Maggie Steffens competes at the FINA World Championships on July 24, 2019 in Gwangju, South Korea.


In the women’s water polo pool, it’ll be Team USA against Spain once again for the world championship.

The U.S. women are back to the gold-medal game again thanks to a 7-2 semifinal win over Australia on Wednesday at the FINA World Championships in Gwangju, South Korea.

The Americans built a 6-0 lead early in the third period but struggled to produce any more offense. Australia’s defense stiffened as its attack came to life. But 6-2 was as close as the Australians would get. 

Olympic gold medalist Makenzie Fischer scored two goals, as did Alys Williams and Stephania Haralabidis. Olympic gold medalist Rachel Fattal added one.

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“I knew it was going to be a hard game, and we discussed that they were going to come out very hard, and they did,” said Haralabidis to FINA.org. “It was a pretty hard match. Everything went right, but we did make mistakes in passing ways, some rejections and pulling bathing suits, but it went right. Every match we improve. We learn from our mistakes and we have to improve for the next match.”

There they’ll face a familiar foe in Spain. Not only did these teams square off in the last world championships gold-medal match in 2017, together they’ve won the last three world titles. Spain’s last triumph came on home soil in 2013. The U.S. also defeated Spain for its first Olympic gold in 2012.

Team USA — already the two-time defending Olympic champion and holder of every major championship in the sport — will be seeking to become the first team, male or female, to win three world titles in a row.

Todd Kortemeier is a sportswriter, editor and children’s book author from Minneapolis. He is a contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.