Palo Alto, CA – July 2 – An overflow crowd at Stanford University’s Avery Aquatics Center saw the U.S. Olympic Women’s Water Polo Team top Hungary 17-8. Four different players registered three goals each including Melissa Seidemann (Walnut Creek, CA/Stanford/Stanford), Lauren Wenger (Long Beach, CA/USC/NYAC), Maggie Steffens (Danville, CA/Stanford/Diablo), and Courtney Mathewson (Anaheim Hills, CA/UCLA/NYAC). Betsey Armstrong (Ann Arbor, MI/Michigan/NYAC) did the job in net turning aside six shots in the win. Team USA meets Hungary next on July 4 in Los Alamitos, CA at 7pm.
The match was high scoring from the beginning as Wenger got things started early with a goal about two minutes in for a 1-0 lead. Hungary answered to tie the game, but the United States countered with three straight goals, one from Steffens and two from Mathewson. Hungary had a reply of their own with back to back goals to draw within 4-3, with 1:13 left in the period. Seidemann hit from deep for the next USA goal, and then Hungary scored to close out the period and it was a 5-4 lead for Team USA after one.
Team USA came out firing in the second hitting on two straight goals for a 7-4 lead with 6:01 left in the half. Hungary scored next to make it 7-5 but the United States responded with goals from Mathewson and Seidemann for a 9-5 lead with 2:16 left in the period. Hungary tacked on a late score in the period and it was 9-6 at halftime.
In the second half the United States offense continued to produce while their defense began to lock down the Hungarians. The third period saw Team USA keep the Hungarians from scoring while adding four goals. Maggie Steffens scored the first two of the period, followed by a redirect from Wenger, and then an outside shot from Seidemann. That put the United States up 13-6 at the end of the third quarter.
Elsie Windes (Portland, OR/California/Tualatin Hills WP) opened the scoring in the fourth with a shot from in close for a 14-6 lead. Hungary tried to rally with another goal closing to within 14-7, but it was too little, too late. Heather Petri (Orinda, CA/California/NYAC) hit a lob from outside, Kami Craig (Santa Barbara, CA/USC/Santa Barbara WPF) fired in a backhand, and Annika Dries (Laguna Beach, CA/Stanford/SET) buried one from the weakside for a 17-7 lead with 2:30 left. Hungary would score a late goal that did not factor in the decision.
Notes: Team USA went 4/6 on power plays and 1/1 on penalties while Hungary was 3/11 on power plays and 0/1 on penalties. Team USA and Hungary meet three more times. July 4 in Los Alamitos, CA at the USA Water Polo National Training Center at 7pm, July 6 in San Diego, CA at UC-San Diego at 6pm and July 8 in Newport Beach, CA at Corona del Mar HS at 3pm. The final match will be televised live on NBC Sports Network.
USA 17 (5, 4, 4, 4) M. Seidemann 3, M. Steffens 3, C. Mathewson 3, L. Wenger 3, K. Craig 2, A. Dries 1, H. Petri 1, E. Windes 1
HUN 8 (4, 2, 0, 2)
Saves – USA – B. Armstrong 6
6×5 – USA – 4/6 – HUN – 3/11
Penalties – USA – 1/1 – HUN 0/1
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