The U.S. women’s water polo team is one of the most dominant in the world in any sport, and that legacy grew again on Friday.
The U.S. won its third consecutive FINA World Championships title and its sixth overall title with an 11-6 win over Spain on Friday in Gwangju, South Korea. The team previously captured the world title in 2003, 2007 and 2009 in addition to 2015 and 2017, and next summer in Tokyo it will go for its third straight Olympic gold medal, having already qualified by winning the FINA World League Super Final earlier in the summer.
The U.S. women are the first team, men's or women's, to win three world titles in a row in the sport.
In addition to the holding the previous three world titles and two Olympic gold medals, the U.S. women have also won the past three FINA World Cups and 10 of the past 11 World League Super Final titles, including the past six in a row. The Americans are also defending champs in the Intercontinental Tournament as the Pan American Games, and they’ll go for a fifth Pan Am Games title right away as that event kicks off in Lima, Peru, later on Friday.
Friday’s game against Spain was a rematch of the 2017 title game. The U.S. opened up a 3-1 lead in the first quarter, and although Spain would come back to tie it in the second, the U.S. led 5-3 at the half thanks to a 6-0 run that extended into the third quarter. The Americans led 9-3 going into the final frame.
Olympian Kiley Neushul led the team in scoring with three goals while goalkeeper Ashleigh Johnson, another of the nine Olympians on the team, made 14 saves, including several big ones during her team’s 6-0 run, and was named tournament MVP. Olympian Aria Fischer and Stephania Haralabidis were named to the tournament’s Media All-Star Team.
The U.S. defeated Australia in the semifinal to reach the gold-medal match and now have a winning streak of 53 games. The team won its 50th straight game earlier in Gwangju, marking the longest winning streak in the Olympic era of women’s water polo, which began in 2000.