Stanford grad Brenda Villa scored twice to help the United States women's national water polo team open the FINA World League Super Final with a 9-6 victory over Italy in Tainjin, China on Tuesday.
Stanford's Melissa Seidemann and incoming Cardinal freshman Maggie Steffens also scored for the U.S., which meets host China on Wednesday morning as pool play continues.
Villa opened the scoring to give the Americans the early edge. Italy rebounded to take a 2-1 lead after the first quarter.
Team USA scored three consecutive goals to take the lead for good, shutting down the Italians in the second quarter. Villa's second goal of the match sparked the rally.
Steffens scored in third quarter and Seidemann scored the final goal of the contest.
"Any win is a good win in this tournament, US coach Adam Krikorian said. "I know we can execute better but I was pleased with our defense, most importantly with our defense after the first quarter."
In other action Russia defeat Canada 9-8, Australia routed Spain 14-6, and China edged Greece 9-8.