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Local Trio Contribute in Team USA Women’s Water Polo Quarterfinal Rout

Dos Pueblos alum Sami Hill makes a save for Team USA during its quarterfinal win over Brazil at the Rio Olympics. Click to view larger
Dos Pueblos alum Sami Hill makes a save for Team USA during its quarterfinal win over Brazil at the Rio Olympics. (Peter Neushul photo)

The Santa Barbara water polo trio of Kami Craig, Kiley Neushul and Sami Hill saw action for Team USA in its dominating 13-3 victory over Brazil in the quarterfinals of the Rio Olympics women's water polo tournament on Monday.

The Americans advance to a semifinal game against Hungary on Wednesday.

Craig, a Santa Barbara High alum playing in her third Olympics and seeking her second straight gold medal, opened the scoring in the quarterfinal at the 6:15 mark in the first period. A couple of minutes later, Neushul scored and Maddie Musselman followed with another goal for a 3-0 lead.

The lead expanded to 8-0 by halftime as Team USA's defense smothered the Brazilian attack.

Neushul, a Dos Pueblos alum and first-time Olympian, scored her second goal early in the third quarter to put Team USA ahead 10-0.  Neushul was one of four players to tally two goals. A total of nine players scored in the win.

Hill, also a DP alum and playing in her first Olympics, entered the pool in the fourth quarter at goalie and finished out the game.

Coach Adam Krikorian was impressed how the team played on defense for most of the game.

“No one likes to talk about defense, it’s not sexy," he said. "I thought our defense was great in the first three quarters but I’m not happy with how we played the fourth. I thought we relaxed. It was a little disappointing as we’ve got to play better defense. We got a little lazy and we know in the next two games we’ve got to be sharp for a full four quarters otherwise we’re not going to get the job done. We know there are bigger tests ahead.”

The Americans are trying to become the first country to win consecutive gold medals in women's water polo, which was added to the Olympics in 2000. They have yet to lose a game in Rio while outscoring opponents 47-17.

Noozhawk sports editor Barry Punzal can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk Sports on Twitter: @NoozhawkSports. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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