Stanford sophomore Annika Dries scored three goals and the United States women's national water polo team downed host New Zealand, 17-8, at the FINA World Cup in Christchurch on Thursday.
"They way they were playing defensively we knew that we were going to get opportunities on goal," U.S. coach Adam Krikorian said. "They played a big zone and really dared our shooters on the outside to shoot. You know if teams are going to do that we are going step up to the plate and be aggressive, get on our legs and not be afraid to shoot the ball and that¹s what we did."
The Americans finished pool play with a 2-1 mark and will meet Hungary, which finished third in its pool, on Friday.
"Offensively they are potent and have a lot of weapons," Krikorian said. "Their center has been playing great, and they have some of the best shooters in the world so we are going to have to be very sharp defensively if we want to come away with a win."
The Kiwis scored first but Stanford grads Lolo Silver and Brenda Villa scored goals to put the U.S. in the lead for good. Dries also scored to make it 3-1.
"We've gained a lot of confidence in our defense the past few days," Dries said. "Nevertheless every game will be a battle and we have to take it to them."
Silver, Villa and Cardinal junior Melissa Seidemann each scored twice for the Americans, who play the Hungarians for the first time since losing to them at the Dutch Trophy tournament in 2009.
Pan Pacific Championships
Stanford sophomore Matt Swanston finished 20th overall in the 50 back Thursday at the Pacific Championships in Irvine.
Swanston is competing for Canada at the meet, along with Cardinal grads Paul Kornfeld and Tobias Oriwol.
Kornfeld went 1:02.63 in the 100 breast and finished 25th. Oriwol withdrew from the 50 back.