US water polo three-peats at Olympics with dominant win over Spain
United States head coach Adam Krikorian is pulled into the pool by his team.
For a third straight Olympics, the United States women’s water polo team thoroughly dominated.
It’s a three-peat for the US after the team dismantled Spain, 14-5, to add more gold in Japan after winning in Rio and London.
There was never a doubt for a team that crushed the Russian Olympic Committee 18-5 in the semifinals and built a 6-1 lead in the final before stretching it to 12-4 by the end of the third quarter.
“This is what we were building to,” goalkeeper Ashleigh Johnson told reporters. “Our whole team came out to play and showed up in the right moment. We supported each other, and it’s so amazing to come back with so much energy, love and passion. It was palpable in the water today.”
Johnson, who in 2016 became the first African-American woman to make the team, blocked 11 of 15 shots on goal in leading a defense that both set the tone and kept Spain from scoring in the second half until the final minutes of the fourth.
Maggie Steffens, the all-time Olympic scoring leader, added one goal to her ledger, but nine different Americans scored, including multiple goals from Alys Williams, Kaleigh Gilchrist, Aria Fischer and Maddie Musselman.
In the six Olympics that have featured water polo, the Americans have never failed to medal. Spain won silver for a second time.