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Water Polo: Fischer feeling golden

Laguna Beach High standout helps Team USA win gold medal at FINA Women's Junior World Championships.

August 29, 2013|By Mike Sciacca
(USA Water Polo )

Makenzie Fischer was a bit jet-lagged late Tuesday afternoon but still, you could color her mood golden.

The Laguna Beach High student-athlete, who begins her junior year next week, had just returned a day earlier from Volos, Greece, site of the 2013 FINA Women's Junior World Championships. Fischer and the USA Water Polo Women's Junior National Team were sitting on top of the world following the week-long tournament.

Team USA captured the gold medal Sunday by defeating Spain, 9-7, in the tournament's championship game. It marked the first time since 2005 that the U.S. had won the Junior World Title.

Team USA returned home late Monday, gold medal ribbons in hand.

"It was so worth it," the 16-year-old said of the experience, her spirits high despite being tired from the long, international flight home. "It's something I'll never forget."

Fischer scored one goal in Sunday's gold medal game. A utility player, she netted her goal with only seven seconds left in the first half, and it gave Team USA a 6-2 halftime lead.

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"Winning the gold medal was an amazing experience," she said. "It was nice to see all the hard work and training we put in, pay off. It was definitely worth the effort."

Fischer said Team USA put in one week's worth of practice at the Los Alamitos Joint Forces Training Base pool before heading to Greece for the FINA Women's Junior World Championships.

Team USA's tourney journey began Aug. 19. Fischer scored twice in an opening, 14-4 victory over Kazakhstan. Team USA also scored subsequent victories over Italy (8-5) and New Zealand (12-5) to complete group play with a 3-0 record, giving the squad an automatic bye into the tournament quarterfinals.

In the quarterfinal round Aug. 23, Team USA outscored Hungary, 12-10, to move on to Saturday's semifinals to face Greece. Fischer scored once in that semi matchup, her goal capping a 5-0 run in the second quarter by the U.S. that led to a 7-2 halftime lead.

Team USA advanced to the gold medal game following a decisive, 10-3 victory over a Greece team that would go on to win bronze Sunday following a 7-6 win over Russia in the third-place game.

"The international competition was very challenging," Fischer said. "We went up against the best players in our age group from around the world. There was a lot of talent in the pool and there weren't any weak teams. The experience really showed me what it takes to compete at this level."

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