WATER POLO: U.S. opens Women’s World Cup with 18-2 rout

The quadrennial FINA women’s Water Polo World Cup is underway in Surgut (RUS), with eight teams competing in two groups, trying to unseat the two-time defending champions from the United States. The groups:

∙ Group A: Russia, Australia, China, Spain
∙ Group B: United States, Canada, South Africa, New Zealand

In Group A, Russia defeated Spain (13-9) and Australia beat China (11-8), while the Group B openers were both mis-matches, as the U.S. zipped past New Zealand, 18-2, and Canada stomped South Africa, 18-3.

The U.S. was led in scoring by Kiley Neushul (5), and Aria Fischer (4). Said Neushul afterwards, “This was not our best showing. We did not execute a lot on our offensive plays early in the game.

“We started a little slowly, and I think we can improve coming up here in the tournament. We never considered New Zealand an easy opponent, like every team here, we are sure they will be looking to show their best game against us. We want to be the best every game, so we are happy to celebrate the first win in Surgut. It was a good warm-up for the next games.”

Pool play continues through the sixth, with the playoffs continuing through the ninth (Sunday).

This event debuted back in 1979 and the U.S. has won three times (1979-2010-2014) in the 16 prior editions. The traditional power has been the Netherlands, with eight wins, but not involved in 2018. Australia has also won three times, in 1984-1995-2006.

The U.S. beat Australia in the 2010 and 2014 finals; China won bronze in 2010 and Spain in 2018.

Look for results here.