The U.S. women’s water polo team claimed the gold medal for the second straight Olympics by continuing their dominating performance in Rio de Janiero beating undefeated Italy 12-5 in the gold medal match Friday, Aug. 19.
Aria Fischer, 17, of Laguna Beach, became the youngest player in Olympic history to win a gold medal in the sport as scores of Laguna Beach High School water polo players and friends watched the match on a big screen on the high school pool deck.
“I’m not surprised,” said LBHS water polo player Kirra Nash, 19.
“It’s so cool, unbelievable, we’re all so happy,” said Kyla Whitelock, 16, who also swims on the LBHS team where the local sisters Makenzie and Aria Fischer have competed.
“They have that drive to be the best in the pool; it shows that it pays off,” Whitlock added.
Makenzie Fischer received a scholarship to attend Stanford University and continue to compete in the pool.
Aria completed her junior year by taking online classes in order to train for the summer Olympics. Her teammates hope she will re-enroll.
Loud cheers rang out whenever either of the Fischer sisters, wearing No. 9 and 11, appeared on screen.
The performance by the goalies helped the U.S. pull away from Italy. The American goalkeepers stopped 11-of-16 Italian shots in the goal; Ashleigh Johnson stopped 9-of-13 and Sami Hill stopped 2-of-3 shots faced. On offense, Kiley Neushul led the way for the Americans with three goals on four shots as the U.S. rolled up 12 goals on Italy, says the Olympic web site.
The U.S. women have medaled in all five Olympic water polo competitions since the Sydney games in 2000 when women’s water polo became an Olympic event.