Steffens ties Olympic water polo scoring record


Stanford freshman Maggie Steffens tied an Olympic Games record with seven goals as the United States women's water polo team outlasted Hungary, 14-13, to open play at the 2012 London Games.

"It's awesome. My heart is still pounding. I'm walking through here and just kind of taking a deep breath and letting it sink in," Steffens said. "There is so much energy running through me, I don't really remember what happened in the first few minutes."

Courtney Mathewson added four goals and Brenda Villa added a goal and six assists.

Team USA, which never trailed in the high-scoring affair, meets Spain in Group A play on Tuesday.

Steffens started her scoring barrage almost immediately as she punched in a counter-attack goal some thirty seconds into the match for a 1-0 lead.

A few minutes later, Steffens scored consecutive goals to help the Americans open a 3-1 advantage with 2:56 left in the first period.

After Hungary, which was playing the U.S. for the fifth time in less than a month, tied the score at 7-7, Steffens connected with a power play goal with 1:18 to go in the half, giving Team USA an 8-7 lead at halftime.

"She's a stud, I mean come on, seven goals?" said Stanford grad Brenda Villa, who is in her fourth Olympics and is a prolific scorer. "She's a youngster, but you could never tell in the water. She plays like she's been playing at this level for a long time."

A goal late in the third from Villa and early in the fourth from Mathewson gave the U.S. a 12-9 lead, its biggest advantage of the match.

Team USA went 6-of-11 on power plays while Hungary was 4-of- 10 and missed its lone penalty shot.

Maggie Steffens tied the output by Danielle de Bruijn of the Netherlands in the gold-medal match of the 2008 Olympic Games.

"Surprised? No," said Jessica Steffens, Maggie's older sister and another Stanford grad. "She has so much potential in her and I think she's been waiting to bust out of her skin. Was I happy? Yes. Was I surprised that they didn't want to stop her? Yes. But if she's going to keep scoring goals, we're absolutely going to let her."

The seven goals are also a record for an Olympic debut. The victory over Hungary marked the sixth consecutive win over the Hungarians in 2012. The two teams met at the test event in London in May and then in a four game series in California earlier this month.

Team USA also defeated Hungary, 7-6, to open play at the 2004 Olympic Games.

Men's crew

Stanford grad Silas Stafford and his partner, Thomas Peszak, qualified for the semifinal in the men's pair with a third-place finish in the Repechage.

Cardinal grad Alex Osborne, part of the U.S. quadruple sculls, wasn't as fortunate. The Americans were eliminated in the Repechage.

Women's equestrian

Incoming Stanford freshman Nina Ligon is in 37th place with a score of 69.90 after Monday's cross-country portion of the equestrian eventing competition.

Men's tennis

Russian Dmitry Tursunov, who attended Menlo School for a year, dropped his opening match to Feliciano Lopez, 6-7 (5-7), 6-2, 9-7.

Women's volleyball

The U.S. defeated Brazil, 3-1, on Monday at the Olympics in an early round rematch of the Beijing Games final won by the Brazilians.

Destinee Hooker had 23 points and Jordan Larson added 18 for the top-ranked Americans, who won, 25-18, 25-17, 22-25, 25-21, to improve to 2-0 in pool play at Earls Court. Stanford grad Logan Tom added 12 kills.

Sheilla Castro had 15 points for No. 2 Brazil, which was energized after a third-set victory but lost on Tom's floater in the fourth set. Tom is playing in her fourth Olympics.

"I call her the glue," coach Hugh McCutcheon said of Tom. "She holds this team together."

The U.S. pulled away in the second set with a 7-point run, capped by Tom's spike. Brazil twice held off the U.S. at set point and had some momentum, until Hooker's kill ended it.

China, Serbia, Turkey and South Korea are in the six-team pool with the U.S. and Brazil. Japan, Russia, Italy, Algeria, the Dominican Republic and Britain make up the other pool. The top four teams from each group advance to the quarterfinals.

"I think our best is yet to come," McCutcheon said. "We certainly had some areas that we can improve on . . . But that's the great thing about this team, they keep trying to master their craft."

Beach volleyball

Misty May-Treanor walked off the beach volleyball court at Horse Guards Parade holding a brightly colored cupcake, a gift from partner Kerri Walsh Jennings' mother.

Their match, which started late and ran past midnight, ended too late for May-Treanor to blow out the pirate candle on her actual 35th birthday, but it was a victory worthy of a party.

"We're celebrating on California time," Walsh Jennings said Monday after the 21-14, 21-19 victory over Czechs Marketa Slukova and Kristyna Kolocova.

It was the 16th consecutive Olympic victory for the two-time gold medalists. The Americans, who have never lost a set in three Olympics, fell behind 18-15 in the second before tying it 18-all.

The Czechs again took the lead but May-Treanor hit one off the heel of her palm into the far corner, then Slukova left two short of the net.

— Palo Alto Online Sports/AP

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