Maggie Steffens and the U.S. Women’s Water Polo Team became the first team to win three straight Olympic gold medals, defeating Spain, 14-5 in the gold medal match Saturday.
The U.S women dominated from start to finish.
Alys Williams, who attended UCLA, got the scoring going early with an outside just seconds into the game. Rachel Fattal found Stephens for the second U.S. goal with 3:36 to left in the first quarter. Maddie Musselman got in the mix with a six on four-goal on the near side to give the U.S. a 3-1 lead in the final seconds of the first.
After heading into halftime up 7-4, Team USA took over in the second half allowing only one goal from Spain for the rest of the game and adding seven goals themselves to win the game, 14-5. It was the largest margin of victory in a gold medal water polo match.
Steffens scored three goals in the game to extend her record as the all-time leading scorer in women’s Olympic water polo history with 56.
Steffens became the sport’s all-time Olympic leading scorer, passing Italy’s Tania Di Mario, in Team USA’s semifinal win over the Russian Olympic Committee on Thursday. She entered the world stage at the 2012 London Olympics. Her performance was historic as she tied the record for most goals in a single Olympics (21) and most goals in a single game (7) and was named MVP of the tournament.
The Danville, California native returned for the 2016 Rio Olympics to lead Team USA in goals again and clinch the second consecutive gold for the U.S. Women’s Water Polo Team.
Ashleigh Johnson made 11 saves on 15 shots to secure the win for the U.S. women. Johnson became the first Black woman to play on the U.S. Women’s Water Polo team and win a gold medal during the 2016 Rio Olympics.
11 of the 13 players on the team are from California. Steffens (Long Beach), Fattal (Seal Beach), Williams (Huntington Beach), Maddie Musselman (Newport Beach) Aria and Makenzie Fischer (Laguna Beach), Kaleigh Gilchrist (Newport Beach), Paige Hauschild (USC), Amanda Longan (Moorpark) all hail from parts of California.
Ashleigh Johnson is a Miami native while Stephania Haralabidis became the first woman born in Greece to compete for the U.S.in any sport at an Olympics.
Prior to their loss to Hungary in group play, the team went 169-5 dating back to December 2015.
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.