When the U.S. Olympic women's water polo team next plays competitively, it will do so at the Avery Aquatic Center on Stanford's campus.
Currently ranked first in the world, the Americans cemented that rating Sunday when they downed Australia, 6-4, in the championship match of the FINA World League Super Final in Changshu, China.
For Olympians Jessica Steffens, Maggie Steffens, Annika Dries, Brenda Villa and Melissa Seidemann, the visit to Stanford is a homecoming. With the exception of Maggie Steffens, who has yet to play for the Cardinal, all of them have experienced a national college title and a gold-medal winning performance at a prestigious international tournament.
The win over Australia marked Team USA's fourth consecutive Super Final title. The next goal is playing for an Olympic gold medal later in the summer in London.
The Olympic team opens a four-game exhibition series with Hungary on Monday, July 2 at Stanford, where Seidemann will return to play her senior season in the fall. Dries will be a redshirt junior and Maggie Steffens will make her freshman debut. Villa, a three-time Olympian, was part of Stanford's first national title in 2002.
The younger Steffens and Dries each scored twice in the win over Australia, while Villa, who serves as the team captain, also scored. Betsey Armstrong recorded 15 saves as the Aussies were held scoreless in the second half.
"We played a great second half," Team USA coach Adam Krikorian said. "Defensively we played very well all tournament, but we certainly understand that this means nothing when we get to the Olympic Games."
Team USA also will play exhibition games against Hungary on July 4 in Los Alamitos, July 6 at a location to be determined and July 8 at Corona del Mar High school in a nationally televised game on NBC Sports.