USA Female Water Polo Player Named USA Today Olympic Athlete of the Week
-- July 2, 2004
LOS ALAMITOS, CALIF, July 2 - LONG BEACH, Calif., and the world's Women's Water Polo community got a good look at USA Attacker Brenda Villa who had three straight hat tricks at the FINA Women's World League Super Final and was named USA Today's Olympic Athlete of the Week.
LOS ALAMITOS, CALIF, July 2 - LONG BEACH, Calif., and the world's Women's water polo powers got a good look at USA Attacker Brenda Villa who had three straight hat tricks at the FINA Women's World League Super Final and was named USA Today's Olympic Athlete of the Week, according to USA Water Polo.
Not only did USA’s efforts garner gold at the FINA Women's World League
Super Final, but Villa's performance received acclaim from USA Today. Villa scored 11 goals at the Super Final, and the USA won a sixth straight tournament title.
Villa was Team USA's top scorer in the Super Final and had three-goal performances in the USA's last three games of the tournament. Her hat trick against Italy helped the U.S. women win that semifinal 10-9 for a place in the gold-medal game. There, Villa notched the first U.S. goal of the championship game with Hungary, and later tallied her third during an intense penalty shootout that decided the game. Villa was the first
shooter for the USA, and her opening penalty score helped provide the momentum for her teammates.
Villa was also a nominee for the award last week after Team USA won the Holiday Cup in La Jolla, Calif., but track and field's Alan Webb received the nod after posting the fastest mile time ever run on U.S. soil by an American. This week, U.S. goalie Jackie Frank was also nominated for the weekly honor -- in part for her two crucial saves during the USA's championship shootout.
The 24-year-old Villa has been a member of the Women's National Team since she was a teenager growing up in Commerce, Calif., and has been one of Team USA's top scorers throughout those eight years. She was similarly dangerous in college, helping Stanford to the 2002 NCAA championship title and earning herself honors with the 2002 Peter J. Cutino Award. Now, all sights are locked on Athens for Villa, as she and the U.S. Olympic team aim to back up its No. 1 world ranking with a gold medal at the 2004 Summer Games.