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Water Polo

Local Players Help Team USA Water Polo Win Gold at FINA World League Super Final

Local water polo players win gold at FINA World League Super Final Click to view larger
Local players, from left, Kiley Neushul, Paige Hauschild and Jamie Neushul won gold medals with the USA Women’s Water Polo team at the FINA World League Super Final in China. (Peter Neushul photo)

Local water polo players Paige Hauschild, Kiley Neushul and Jamie Neushul helped the USA Women's National Water Polo Team claim its fifth straight FINA World League Super Final crown with an 8-6 victory over the Netherlands on Satureday in Kunshan, China.

Hauschild, a San Marcos alum who helped USC win the NCAA women's water polo title last month, scored the clinching goal for the U.S.

The Neushul sisters are Dos Pueblos alums. Kiley Neushul was on the gold-medal winning U.S. team at the 2016 Olympics and last year's world championship team. Jamie Neushul has been one of leading goal scorers on the team. She, too, was on the world championship team.

Rachel Fattal led the team with three goals and goalie Ashleigh Johnson earned top goalkeeper honors. 

The Netherlands started off in control grabbing a 1-0 lead early before Fattal got Team USA on the board. The Dutch followed with another goal and took a 2-1 lead after one. In the second quarter the United States turned the tables, outscoring the Netherlands 2-0 to take a 3-2 lead at halftime. Things were close in the third quarter with the United States holding a 5-4 lead late in the period. Melissa Seidemann  delivered a goal with just seconds remaining in the quarter to put the United States ahead 6-4. 

There was one more rally from the Dutch as they opened the fourth quarter with two straight goals to tie the game with 2:27 to play. Maggie Steffens came back with the go-ahead goal with 2:07 to play to put the United States in front 7-6. Hauschild closed the things out moments later with a tally for an 8-6 lead and a confirmed trip to the top of the podium.

"We wanted the Dutch to beat Canada so we could play them," said Team USA's Melissa Seidemann. "They have a young team and a lot of talent. They are physical and fast and it was a lot of fun. Adam (Krikorian) told us we were doing the right things. We were looking for fluidity on offense. We found it in the end." 

The victory marks the 12th overall Super Final crown in USA Women's National Team program history. 

"We worked so hard and had to finish it," added Johnson. "Those last goals were essential to finish the game. A lot of changes have been made (in the team) and people coming back, including me. There are so many pieces of the puzzle. We were a little rough around the edges, but we got into a rhythm and it’s nice in a new team."

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