U.S. Women Defeat The Netherlands In Shootout To Win Water Polo World League Bronze

by Todd Kortemeier

Ashleigh Johnson controls the ball during the women's water polo gold medal match of the Budapest 2022 FINA World Championships on July 02, 2022 in Budapest, Hungary.


After coming up short in a heavyweight semifinal battle Saturday against Olympic bronze medalists Hungary, the U.S. bounced back to beat the Netherlands in a shootout Sunday to win the bronze medal at the FINA Women’s Water Polo World League Super Finalin Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain.


The three-time reigning Olympic championsclosed the first half strongly to take a 7-4 lead only for the Dutch to return the favor in the second half and send the match to a penalty shootout. The Americans made all five of their shots in the shootout. Goalie and two-time Olympic gold medalist Ashleigh Johnson made a big save on a shot by Marit Van Der Weijden for a 5-4 shootout edge and a 16-15 U.S. victory.


Johnson finished with 14 saves. Jordan Raney of the U.S. scored a match-high four goals in regulation, then scored the winner in the shootout.


The U.S. was able to extend one streak even as the loss to Hungary ended another. Since the World League women’s tournament began in 2004, the U.S. has medaled in all but one tournament, missing the podium only in the second edition in 2005.


However, Sunday’s loss to Hungary ended a streak of seven consecutive World League titles. It was also the first major FINA event that the U.S. women did not win since the 2013 world championships. The Americans will look to secure their fifth world title in a row next summer in Fukuoka, Japan.


Spain won its first World League championship Sunday, defeating Hungary in a shootout, 19-18.

Todd Kortemeier is a sportswriter, editor and children’s book author from Minneapolis. He is a contributor to on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.