US Women Advance to Semifinal

Team USA player Rachel Fattel takes aim against Hungary in a match played last week. Photo by Getty Images
Team USA player Rachel Fattel takes aim against Hungary in a match played last week. Photo by Getty Images

The US women’s water polo team defeated Brazil in the quarterfinal round 13-3 on Monday, Aug. 15 at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, the highest-ever margin of victory for an Olympic women’s water polo match.

Team USA advances to the semifinal round where they will face Hungary on Wednesday, Aug. 17, 12:30 p.m. PT, says the USA Water Polo website.

Laguna Beach player Makenzie Fischer, 19, led the Monday game with two goals as nine U.S. players scored in the first half of the match. Also on the team is Fischer’s sister, Laguna Beach High School senior Aria.

The Americans are shooting 44 percent in the tournament, according to the Olympic web site. Captain Maggie Steffens leads the U.S. with 10 goals scored in 14 shots. Newcomer and teenager Maddie Musselman has also proved to be an offensive force, scoring eight goals on 15 shots.

Despite the scoring prowess, the U.S.’s key to victory has been their defense. Goalkeeper Ashleigh Johnson has saved 28 shots on 42 attempts for a 66 percent save percentage, the website says.

The U.S. has also picked up 23 steals and 10 blocks in three games, as posted on the site.

USA and Italy are the only undefeated teams in the 2016 Olympic contest. Team USA won gold at the 2012 London Games and medaled at every Olympic Games since women’s water polo was added in 2000.

The USA women’s team beat Hungary 11-6 in round-robin play last week.

Hungary beat Australia 13-11 after falling behind in the first half and coming back to win in a tense shoot out.

Russia’s women defeated Spain 12-10 and will next face Italy, who reached the semifinals with a 12-7 victory over China.

Italy beat Russia in a 10-5 final in earlier round-robin play.

The women’s gold medal match is set for Friday, Aug. 19, 11:30 a.m. PST, says the NBC website. Local fans can watch the match at Big Fish Tavern, 540 S. Coast Highway, and Hennessey’s Tavern, 213 Ocean Ave., which both intend to show the game.


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