Australia and hosts United States maintained their unbeaten records at the Women's Water Polo World League Intercontinental Tournament to ensure both teams will meet in the final on Sunday (February 21).
Ahead of their penultimate match of the round robin in Lewisville, the United States knew that a victory over Canada would end any hopes their North American rivals had of overtaking them in the standings.
The Olympic champions had defeated Canada at last year’s Pan American Games in Toronto by 14-4.
A similar performance looked likely after they ended the opening quarter 6-3 in front.
Makenzie Fischer completed a hat-trick at the start of the second period of the match as the home team established an 11-4 advantage.
The second half of the contest was a far cagier affair, with the Americans scoring a further three goals without reply to seal another 14-4 triumph.
“It was pretty physical, but I think we stood up to the physicality and responded well,” said US goalkeeper Ashleigh Johnson.
“I think we can still get better at everything.
“We’re going to keep building our defence, we’re going to keep pushing our offense and our counter attack, especially.”
Canada’s defeat also ensured Australia would end in the top two positions in the group, ensuring they claimed one of the four places on offer at the World League Super Final in Shanghai in June.
The Australian team continued their impressive from, securing a comprehensive victory over a Japanese team yet to secure a win at the tournament.
Gemma Beadsworth top scored for Australia with five goals, as they dominated two periods of the match to reach half-time with a 9-2 lead.
A demoralised Japanese team were blown away in second half as their rivals scored at will, with Australia emerging 26-4 winners.
Australia will now look forward to their top of the table clash with the US tomorrow, with the two teams due to meet the following day in the final.
Japan’s loss also meant they are now unable to Canada’s tally of six points.
Canada qualify for the Super Final as a result.
As China have already qualified as hosts of the tournament, the Japanese team can only overtake Brazil to claim the fourth and final spot at the event.
The Brazilians, who beat Japan on the opening day, fell to a narrow defeat to China in their penultimate match of the group stage.
Both sides were evenly matched in the opening quarters with China leading 6-5 at the halfway stage of the contest, but they were able to pull away in the closing stages and win 11-6.