Locals help U.S. women win gold at FINA World League

Santa Barbara’s Kami Craig, Kiley Neushul and Sami Hill were part of the USA Women’s Senior National Water Polo Team that won the gold medal at the FINA World League Super Final on Sunday in Shanghai, China. The Americans held off Australia, 8-7, in the title match.

The victory marks the ninth World Super Final championship in program history for Team USA.

Craig, a Santa Barbara High alum and Olympic gold medalist, tallied a goal in the final.

Neushul, who last month led Stanford to the NCAA title and was honored for the second time as the recipient of the Pete Cutino Award, presented to the college player of the year, played in the final but did not score. The Dos Pueblos alum had a huge game in the quarterfinals, pouring in five goals in a 17-6 rout of Russia.

Courtney Mathewson and Kaleigh Gilchrist each scored two goals in the final. Goalie Ashleigh Johnson recorded 14 saves, including a stop on an Australia penalty shot in the fourth period.

The U.S. went undefeated in the tournament, beating Australia, Brazil, Canada, Russia and the Netherlands, twice.

Craig scored two goals to share high honors with Makenzie Fischer and Ashley Grossman in an 8-5 semifinal win against the Netherlands on Saturday. Craig also scored in the quarterfinal win over Russia.