America came out on top defeating Italy by a huge margin…
Water polo might not be the most talked about sport out there, not by a long shot, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t amazingly talented people within the sport. Both female teams leading up to the final were undefeated in the Olympics this year, both showing up ready to get that gold medal. The US team was there defending their 2012 US gold in the sport and they managed to do it. The final was played on Friday, August 19th.
The game kicked off extremely fast with both the US team and Italian team scoring relatively quickly in the first quarter. In fact, the whole game was filled with goals from both sides, though the Americans wound up winning the match 12-5, with a seven point margin. That score can be credited to the entirety of the American team; no one seemed to have a weakness.
Ashleigh Johnson, pictured above, played as goalie in the majority of the game. She came away with an astonishing nine saves throughout the four quarters of the game. Kiley Neushul scored three of the twelve goals and Makenzie Fischer and Rachel Fattal both earned the Americans two goals that contributed to the ending score.
This water polo game was seen as a huge game for a few reasons. Not only was it the final, not only was the US team defending their title from the 2012 London Olympics, but this would be the first time a woman’s water polo team has had two straight Olympic wins. In fact, Women’s water polo hasn’t been in the Olympics for that long — the first time it was ever played was in the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
Not only that, but the aforementioned water polo goalie, Ashleigh Johnson, would be the first African-American player in Women’s water polo and the first one to take home a gold for the sport.
On top of everything ESPN-W reported that the women of the team gave their coach a heartwarming moment as they celebrated their win against Italy. Their coach, named Adam Krikorian, had suffered a terrible loss August 3rd; that of his older brother. Despite this he continued to encourage the girls and they thanked him heavily after their win. The team gave him a huge hug pulling him into the water as they continued to embrace their beloved coach.
With history made and teamwork shown, the women’s water polo event ended on an extremely high note.