Local club players lead U.S. into Junior World quarters

Jamie Neushul takes a shot as Spanish defenders close in on her.

Jamie Neushul takes a shot as Spanish defenders close in on her at the FINA Junior World Championships in Greece. (Photo by Peter Neushul)

Jamie Neushul scored with 15 seconds left to give the USA Water Polo Women’s Junior National Team a wild 17-16 win over Spain in the final group-play game at the FINA Junior World Championships in Volos, Greece.

The victory puts Team USA into the quarterfinals on Friday against either Japan or Brazil.

Neushul, a Dos Pueblos alum and current Stanford player, is one of three members of the Santa Barbara 805 Water Polo club playing for Team USA in Greece. The other two are Amanda Longan (Oaks Christian High/USC) and Mary Brooks (Fresno/UC Irvine). San Marcos High junior Paige Hauschild also was picked to the team but was unable to make the trip because she suffered an appendicitis during training.

The U.S. beat Mexico, 28-0 and Ukraine, 23-0, before its nail-biter with Spain for first place in the group. Neushul scored three goals including the game winner. Brooks scored two goals and Longan went the distance as goalie, finishing with nine blocks.

Referees called a combined 41 ejections in the match — so many that the U.S. was compelled to insert their backup goalie as a field player for the last two minutes of the contest.

 

Neushul, a two-time All-American at Stanford University, helped lead the Cardinal to the 2015 NCAA Championship in the spring. Most recently, she represented Team USA at the 2015 World University Games in Gwangju, South Korea, where the team, comprised entirely of current Stanford students, took fifth place overall. Neushul then paced Stanford to the 2015 title at USA Water Polo’s Women’s Open of Water Polo where she was named All-American.

Santa Barbara water polo is no stranger to Junior World competition. In 2013, Dos Pueblos alumni Kodi Hill, Kiley Neushul and Tiera Schroeder led Team USA to the championship, also held in Volos, Greece.

FINA is experimenting with a new 5-on-5 format at the 2015 Women’s Junior Worlds. Eliminating one field player encourages increased offensive movement and leads to higher scoring. Results so far indicate that scoring opportunities are significantly greater in the new format.

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