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Local Women Win World Championship Water Polo Gold With Team USA

By Noozhawk Staff Reporter, 07/31/17, 12:30PM PDT

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Game MVP Kiley Neushul scores 4 goals in 13-6 victory over Spain

The pride of the 805, from the left: Amanda Longan, Jamie Neushul, Kiley Neushul and Paige Hauschild won gold medals with the USA Women’s Water Polo Team at the FINA World Championships in Budapest, Hungary.  (Peter Neushul photo)

Kiley Neushul scored four goals to lead the USA Women's Water Polo Team to its second straight FINA World Championship with a 13-6 victory over Spain on Friday night in Budapest, Hungary.

Neushul, a Dos Pueblos and Stanford alum, was named the MVP of the championship game. She is one of three local women on the team: her younger sister, Jaime, and Paige Hauschild joined her on the top of the podium. It is their first world championship gold medal.  Jaime Neushul, a DP alum, just graduated from Stanford while Hauschild graduated from San Marcos High and is headed to USC. Kiley Neushul was a member of the USA world title team in 2015 and the gold-medal winning squad at the 2016 Olympic Games. The team also includes 805 Santa Barbara Water Polo Club member and first-time world champion Amanda Longan of Moorpark and USC.

Team USA remains in possession of all the major titles in the water polo world including the Olympic Games, FINA World Championship, FINA World Cup and FINA World League. 

Maddie Musselman added three goals and was named tournament MVP by the media. Goalie Gabby Stone recorded eight saves. 

Neushul and Musselman scored back-to-back goals to break a 3-3 tie and give Team USA a 5-3 lead at halftime.

Spain scored the first goal of the third period to close within 5-4 but would get no closer. The Americans scored five of the next six goals to close out the third and take control of the game.

Rachel Fattal pushed the lead to 6-4 and Neushul and Steffens followed on power plays for an 8-4 advantage with 3:31 to go in the period. With less than two minutes left in the period, Makenzie Fischer hit her first score of the game for a 9-4 lead. Spain broke the run with a goal moments later but Musselman had an answer. With just seconds remaining in the period she darted towards the goal and Neushul hit her with a perfect pass for a 10-5 game going to the fourth quarter. 

Neushul and Steffens fired in goals to open fourth period for a 12-5 lead with 5:34 to play. Musselman finished things off with a power play goal.

Team USA  turned in a dominant performance on the power play, scoring on 10 of 12 opportunities. Spain was 3 of 6 on power plays and 1 for 1 on penalty shots. 

Team USA has won more FINA World Championships than any other women’s water polo program, claiming titles in 2003, 2007, 2009, 2015 and 2017.