The 2018 FINA women’s Water Polo World Cup ended the way the last two did: with the United States on the top step of the podium.
The Americans finished an undefeated tournament with an 8-5 win over a previously-undefeated Russia in the final. The U.S. got out to a 5-2 lead in the first half and cruised home, with multiple goals from Margaret Steffens (3) and Jamie Neushul (2).
Said Steffens, named Most Valuable Player in the tournament, “We wanted to play Russia this whole time. We got mentally prepared for the battle. No matter of the score we had, we always kept on fighting and they never gave up. I love that about Russia. We had to play all our 11 players to be competitive.
“The gold medal game got very exciting. The ball was always moving, there was a lot of pressure, an the tempo of the game was high. a very good experience and a very good exposure for water polo.”
In all, the U.S. won six games by a combined score of 95-21 or an average of 16-4. After winning its group with a 3-0 record (61-6 goal margin), Adam Krikorian’s team defeated China (15-5), Spain (11-5) and the Russians to win its fourth overall title.
Australia won the bronze medal by 9-8 over Spain, the 12th medal for Oz in the 17 editions of this tournament.
The final standings:
1. United States
7. New Zealand
8. South Africa
Anna Espar (ESP) was the top scorer; the best goalkeeper was Asheligh Johnson (USA).