USA Wins Gold at FINA World Cup
In the title match, the USA was powered by three goals from current and former UCLA players, and 16 saves from goalkeeper Sami Hill, a UCLA senior. The United States earned its third World Cup title in program history, in addition to World Cup crowns from 1979 (Merced, CA) and 2010 (Christchurch, New Zealand), the latter also a title game victory over Australia.
Hill and fellow goalkeeper Ashleigh Johnson alternated in goal for Team USA all tournament long. For her efforts Johnson was named the tournament's top goalkeeper despite not playing in the title game.
"I'm very proud of this team's preparation, focus, and attitude throughout this tournament and the entire summer. It's a fun group that truly enjoys each other's company. They are inspiring to watch because they play like young kids who are in love with the sport and competition," said USA Head Coach Adam Krikorian following the medal ceremony.
Australia opened the match with a goal to grab a 1-0 lead but the United States had an immediate answer scoring three straight goals to close the first period ahead 3-1. The United States scored the first goal of the second period to build a 4-1 advantage before Australia stopped the run with a goal. That did little to slow Team USA’s offense as it added three more goals in the period and eventually held a 7-3 lead at halftime. Australia battled back in the third period drawing to within 7-5 with 4:31 to play before the United States hit the accelerator again and quickly went up 10-5 by the end of the quarter.
Australia would muster a final goal in the fourth period but the work was done for the United States as it came away with a four-goal victory. Junior Rachel Fattal scored one goal, and alumna Courtney Mathewson scored twice.
Team USA went 5/7 on power plays and 1/1 on penalty shots while Australia was 3/10 on power plays and 0/1 on penalty shots.
"We got off to a great start. The combination of our defense and Sami's outstanding performance in the cage was huge. The difference for us today, as it was for the whole tournament, was our execution in six on five and five on six situations," added Krikorian.
USA 10 (3, 4, 3, 0)
M. Seidemann 3, C. Mathewson 2, K. Neushul 2, R. Fattal 1, M. Steffens 1, K. Craig 1
AUS 6 (1, 2, 2, 1)
R. Webster 2, G. McGhie 2, K. Gofers 1, B. Knox 1
Saves: USA (S. Hill, 16)