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U.S. women's water polo team downs Russia to make Olympic final

Team USA advances to the gold-medal game in women's water polo. Photo courtesy of FINA/Twitter
Team USA advances to the gold-medal game in women's water polo. Photo courtesy of FINA/Twitter

Aug. 5 (UPI) -- Team USA has advanced to the gold-medal game in women's water polo after defeating the Russian Olympic Committee in a battle they were trailing by three.

The U.S. women's water polo team has medaled in the last five Olympics including winning gold in 2016 in Rio and in 2012 in London and now have a chance at a three-peat in Tokyo.

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The Americans defeated the Russians 15-11 on Thursday at the Tatsumi Water Polo Center with Madeline Musselman, 23, scoring 5 goals and Margaret Steffens, 28, netting 3. Goal keeper Ashleigh Johnson made 8 stops on 19 shots for the win.

Russia opened the scoring early, but the Americans got it back not long after on the power play.

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Margaret would score her first of the game with an extra player on to take an early lead but Maria Bersneva, 22, less than a minute later would tie it up, and the Russians would leave the quarter up a goal on a well-placed shot by Evgeniya Soboleva, 32, with the extra player on.

The second frame would see faults pile up and both sides continuing to take advantage of them.

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Russia would score two more power play goals in the second quarter while Team USA would score one on a penalty shot.

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ROC pushed in the second and bolstered their lead to 6-3 with 2 minutes left in the frame but the Americans countered and were able to close the gap while conceding only 1 goal to go into halftime losing 7-6.

In the third, the Americans would take the lead before the halfway mark on a shot by Musselman to go into the final 8 minutes up 11-9.

During the fourth quarter, the Russians would tie it up at 11 in under 2 minutes but the Americans charged back less than 30 seconds later retaking the lead on a shot by Aria Fischer, 22, after which the Russians had no answer for the Americans who would score 4 more uncontested goals, sending them to the finals.

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The Americans will play the winner of Spain and Hungary for the gold on Saturday.

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United States' Torri Huske swims in the 4x100-meter medley relay final on August 1. Australia set a Olympic record with a time of 3:51.60 and the United States took silver. Photo by Tasos Katopodis/UPI | License Photo

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