LONDON, England, May 5.THE USA Women's National Team advanced to the championship of the VISA Water Polo International with a 7-6 win over Great Britain. In front of a near capacity crowd at the Olympic Water Polo Arena, Team USA held off an upstart Great Britain team to take the one goal victory. Maggie Steffens (Danville, CA/Stanford/Diablo) and Jessica Steffens (Danville, CA/Stanford/NYAC) each scored twice and Betsey Armstrong (Ann Arbor, MI/Michigan/NYAC) posted 10 saves in the win. The squad now advances to take on Australia for the championship on Sunday at 11:20am local time.
The United States got off to a stellar start jumping out to a 4-0 lead. Two straight power play goals from Maggie Steffens opened up a 2-0 lead with 5:45 to go. Lauren Wenger (Long Beach, CA/USC/NYAC) followed with a cross cage lob for a 3-0 lead, then Jessica Steffens added a power play score from in close for a 4-0 lead. Team USA missed a chance for a five goal lead on a failed penalty shot conversion. With just 29 seconds left in the period Great Britain got their first goal of the day to close out the first trailing 4-1.
The momentum carried into the second period for Great Britain as they scored back to back power play goals to close within 4-3 with 4:19 left. Three minutes later Annika Dries (Laguna Beach, CA/Stanford/SET) got one back on an inside score to go up 5-3 with just :55 left. Great Britain had an answer on their next possession with a lob shot score to draw within 5-4 going into halftime.
In the third, goals came at a premium, with only Brenda Villa (Commerce, CA/Stanford/Olympic Club) scoring for the United States to take a 6-4 lead going to the fourth. Four minutes into the final period Great Britain again got to within a goal at 6-5. Just 90 seconds later Jessica Steffens added her second goal on a lob shot to build the lead back to two. The USA defense did the job from there keeping Great Britain at bay. A final goal from the home team with just five seconds left did not factor in the decision and the United States took the game 7-6.
Team USA went 3/6 on power plays while Great Britain was 3/10. The United States was 0/1 on penalty shots and Great Britain did not attempt a penalty shot.
USA 7 (4, 1, 1, 1) M. Steffens 2, J. Steffens 2, B. Villa 1, L. Wenger 1, A. Dries 1
GBR 6 (1, 3, 0, 2)
Saves – USA – B. Armstrong 10
6×5 – USA – 3/6 – GBR – 3/10
Penalties – USA – 0/1 – GBR – 0/0
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