Women’s Water Polo Eyes Olympic Qualification At Super Final
Maddie Musselman competes at the Olympic Games Rio 2016 on Aug. 19, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The U.S. women’s water polo team, stacked with nine members of the 2016 Olympic championship team, is going after its sixth consecutive FINA World League Super Final title and an Olympic berth this week in Budapest, Hungary.
Maddie Musselman, a 2016 Olympic gold medalist, helped get the team off on a good start by scoring eight goals in group play victories over Hungary, Canada and Russia. Team USA defeated Hungary 12-9 on Tuesday, then drilled Canada 15-4 on Wednesday before closing out pool play with a 12-7 win over Russia on Thursday.
“We’re all happy to be back together again and excited for the future,” Musselman said after Wednesday’s match. This week’s tournament is the team’s first international action in more than two months.
Team captain Maggie Steffens, a two-time Olympic gold medalist who won tournament MVP at the last two Olympic Games, scored five goals in the opening three wins of the tournament, including three against Canada.
The quarterfinals are Friday, followed by the semifinals on Saturday and medal matches Sunday. For the first time in tournament history, the champion locks down a berth at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.
Katie Zaferes has won three consecutive races in the 2019 World Triathlon Series for the first time in her career. Sunday in Leeds, England, she goes after a fourth.
Zaferes, a 2016 Olympian, is well on her way toward the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. She is first in the ITU Individual Olympic Qualification Ranking, first in the world rankings and first in the ITU World Triathlon Series women’s points standings with 3,000 points from her three wins. She leads U.S. teammate Taylor Spivey and Great Britain’s Jessica Learmonth by 542 points.
Zaferes led a one-two-three American sweep of the podium in May in Yokohama, Japan. Summer Rappaport, who is seventh in the WTS points standings, finished second and Spivey was third. The trio is joined by Chelsea Burns, Tamara Gorman and Erika Ackerlund.
On the men’s side, Tony Smoragiewicz, Matthew McElroy and Eli Hemming are racing.
The standard-distance event consists of a 1,500-meter swim, 36.2-kilometer bike race and 10K run.
The U.S. women’s national team is ready to chase after a repeat title at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
The U.S. faces Thailand in its World Cup opener on Tuesday at Stade Auguste-Delaune in Reims, France. After meeting Thailand, the U.S. faces Chile on June 16 and Sweden on June 20 to finish out play in Group F. There are six groups of four teams. The knockout round begins June 22.
The tournament begins Friday when host France plays South Korea in Paris.
The last two finals have come down to showdowns between the U.S. and Japan. The U.S. lost the final in 2011 to Japan in a shootout, but a goal by Carli Lloyd in the first three minutes of the 2015 title game led the U.S. on its way to a third World Cup triumph. However, the U.S. is coming off a semifinal exit at the 2016 Olympics, marking its earliest elimination at a major tournament (i.e. Olympics or World Cup).
Lloyd is among 12 members of the 2015 team on this year’s roster. Others include three-time Olympian Tobin Heath, two-time Olympians Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe, Kelley O’Hara and Becky Sauerbrunn, and 2016 Olympians Ali Krieger and Alyssa Naeher.
Sailing -- World Cup Final
Olympic teammates Stuart McNay and David Hughes are competing in this week’s World Cup Final in Marseille, France, chasing after a podium finish in the men’s 470 class. They finished just off the podium, in fourth place, at the Olympic Games Rio 2016 and were in seventh place after three rounds of competition in Marseille. The medal round is Sunday. McNay and Hughes secured an Olympic berth for the U.S. in the 470 with a seventh-place finish at the 2018 world championships. Two American women teams, Nikole Barnes and Lara Dallman-Weiss, and Nora Brugman and Atlantic Brugman Cabot, were attempting to make the medal round in the women’s 470. Daniela Moroz and Kirstyn O’Brien were the leading Americans in the open kiteboarding class after eight rounds of fleet racing, in 10th and 12th places, respectively. The kiteboarding final is Saturday.
Men’s Volleyball – Volleyball Nations League
The U.S. men’s national team heads to Russia this weekend for the second cluster of preliminary round matches in the FIVB Volleyball Nations League. After defeating Australia on Sunday in Katowice, Poland, the U.S. is 1-2 entering the stop in Ufa, Russia. The U.S. faces Italy on Friday, Russia on Saturday and Portugal on Sunday. Italy and Russia each won two of their first three matches last week, and Portugal is 1-2. Taylor Sander, a 2016 Olympian, led the U.S. in its win against Australia with 19 points on 16 kills, 2 blocks and 1 ace. The U.S. has already secured one of the six spots in the final round because it will be the host.
TV: 8 p.m. ET Sunday, Olympic Channel
Wrestling -- Final X: Rutgers
Olympic bronze medalist J’den Cox, two-time Olympian Ben Provisor and 2012 Olympian Ellis Coleman are among the U.S. wrestlers attempting to secure world team berths in Saturday’s Final X competition at Rutgers University. Five Greco-Roman, five women’s freestyle and three men’s freestyle best-of-three bouts will be held at Rutgers, which will determine U.S. roster spots for the 2019 world championships in Kazakhstan in September. The second Final X competition is next week in Lincoln, Nebraska. Cox, the defending world champion in the 92 kg. weight class in men’s freestyle, is taking on World Team Trials Challenge champion Bo Nickal. Provisor is in the 87 kg. Greco-Roman match against U.S. Open champion Joe Rau, and Coleman, a three-time world team member, is facing Jamel Johnson in Greco-Roman 67 kg. Others wrestling for world team spots include two-time world bronze medalist Nick Gwiazdowski in men’s freestyle 125 kg. and world bronze medalist Tamyra Mensah-Stock in women’s freestyle 68 kg.
Men’s Soccer -- USA vs. Venezuela
The U.S. men’s national team is headed to Cincinnati for its final preparation match prior to the Concacaf Gold Cup. The U.S. faces Venezuela on Sunday afternoon at Nippert Stadium, which is on the campus of the University of Cincinnati and is the home stadium for FC Cincinnati of Major League Soccer. The U.S. is unbeaten in five previous matches against Venezuela but is coming off a 1-0 loss to Jamaica on Wednesday. They open the Gold Cup on June 18 against Guyana in a game to be played at brand new Allianz Field in Saint Paul, Minnesota.
Men’s Field Hockey -- FIH Series Finals
The U.S. men’s national team can take a small step toward the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 with a strong performance this weekend in Bhubaneswar, India. The No. 25-ranked U.S. men face No. 39 Mexico and No. 18 Japan on Saturday and Sunday, respectively, in the final two matches of an FIH Series Finals tournament. The U.S. opened the tournament Thursday with a 2-0 win against No. 16 South Africa. The top two teams in pool play secure spots at the Olympic qualifiers. Among those playing for the U.S. are the brother sets of Sean and Pat Harris, and Aki and Kei Kaeppeler.
Para Archery -- World Championships
Three-time Paralympian Eric Bennett, 2016 Paralympian Michael Lukow and Timothy Palumbo will shoot for a team world title Sunday against Russia at the World Para Archery Championships in ‘s-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands. The men’s recurve title match is a rematch of the final won by Russia in 2017. Bennett and Palumbo also won their opening matches in the individual competition. Two-time Paralympian Matt Stutzman, Paralympic champion Andre Shelby and Ben Thompson combined to shoot a world record 2,091 out of a possible 2,160 points in men’s compound qualifying and were aiming to reach Saturday’s medal round in individual competition. They were knocked out by Ukraine in the team competition on Wednesday when Ukraine topped a world record held by the U.S. Also advancing this week for the U.S. was Emma Rose Ravish in women’s recurve and Teresa Wallace in women’s compound.
Cycling -- BMX Supercross World Cup
Two-time Olympian and No. 2-ranked Alise Willoughby looks for her first world cup win of the 2019 season when the UCI BMX Supercross World Cup goes to Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, France, for the fifth and sixth rounds of the 10-round series. Separate rounds are set for Saturday and Sunday. Willoughby has finished runner-up in her last two finals and has made the finals in the last three rounds, helping the U.S. women to a No. 1 position in the Olympic qualification rankings. She trails only Laura Smulders of the Netherlands in the season rankings. Olympic hopeful Felicia Stancil has finished among the top eight in all four rounds. On the men’s side, 2016 Olympian Corben Sharrah is the highest-ranked American, sitting in fifth place.
Climbing -- Vail Bouldering World Cup
Olympic hopefuls Ashima Shiraishi, Alex Johnson, Kyra Condie, Nathaniel Coleman and Sean Bailey are among 20 U.S. climbers seeking podium finishes on home turf this weekend when the IFSC World Cup tour hits Vail, Colorado. Men’s and women’s bouldering competition is set for Friday and Saturday at Mountain Plaza in Vail. Bouldering is one of the three disciplines that will be used for the combined event when climbing makes its Olympic debut in Tokyo in 2020. Shiraishi, Johnson and Condie all finished in the top 25 in the last bouldering world cup held in Germany in May, led by Johnson’s 10th-place finish. Bailey, who is ranked 26th in the world, had a runner-up finish in men’s bouldering last year in Vail.
TV: 11 p.m. ET Saturday, Olympic Channel
Karate – Shanghai Premier League
Olympic hopeful Tom Scott is among the U.S. athletes competing in this weekend’s WKF Karate 1 Premier League stop in Shanghai. Scott, who is ranked sixth in the Olympic qualification standings in the men’s 75 kg. weight class, has two top-five finishes this season in the Premier League, including third in Dubai. Karate will make its Olympic debut in Tokyo in 2020. The competition in Shanghai takes place Friday through Sunday. Among those joining Scott are: Brian Irr, +84 kg.; Cheryl Murphy, 68 kg.; Maya Wasowicz, +68 kg.; Sakura Kokumai and Jessica Kwong, women’s kata; Joseph Martinez, Mason Stowell, Ariel Torres Gutierrez and Gakuji Tozaki, men’s kata.