It was a golden night for the U.S. women's water polo team as it captured the gold medal at the Pan American Games with a 13-4 drubbing of host Canada in Toronto on Tuesday. Stanford senior Maggie Steffens helped lead the way by scoring four goals.
The Americans won for the fourth straight time at the Pan Am Games as Courtney Mathewson added four goals and goalie Ashleigh Johnson finished with 12 saves. The victory capped an undefeated tournament for Team USA that saw victories over Mexico, Cuba, Argentina, Brazil, and Canada.
Canada struck first in the opening two minutes as Monika Eggens found the net on a power play, That was the Canadians' only lead as Team USA took over from there.
Mathewson got things cooking for the USA by scoring two goals in the span of a minute for a 2-1 lead with 5:11 to play. Stanford grad Melissa Seidemann delivered on an outside score with less than four minutes to play for her only goal as Team USA built a 3-1 lead.
Canada kept keep things close with a power-play strike from Joelle Bekhazi late in the period to leave the United States up 3-2 after the first period.
The Americans got off to a strong start in the second quarter when Maddie Musselman floated a lob into the cage for a 4-2 lead. Some four minutes later, Steffens cashed in on her first goal for a 5-2 game. With 24 seconds left in the first half, Mathewson scored another for a 6-2 lead. That looked to be the score going into halftime, but Canada's Krystina Alogbo connected for a goal right as the halftime buzzer sounded for a 6-3 score at intermission.
In the third quarter, Team USA put the match to bed with a bevy of goals. Steffens hit from the outside for a 7-3 lead with 6:17 to play. After Stanford grad Kiley Neushul failed to convert a penalty drawn by Kami Craig, Neushul earned redemption with a power-play goal and an 8-3 lead. Steffens followed at the 2:32 mark with another power-play goal for a 9-3 lead. Rachel Fattal capped the scoring in the third quarter with a score from the perimeter to take a 10-3 advantage.
Mathewson continued to pour it on in the fourth scoring in the opening minute for an 11-3 lead. Eggens came back with a score for Canada to cut the deficit to 11-4. A minute later, Stanford grad Ashley Grossman drew a penalty and Steffens cashed in for a 12-4 game with 5:25 left.
With the game already in hand, the United States added two more statements. Kaleigh Gilchrist scored on a penalty for a 13-4 lead. Then, with 1:58 left, Johnson sealed the deal from the cage, blocking a penalty attempt by Canada while securing the victory.
Stanford grad Bobby Bollier was eighth in the men's 200-meter butterfly in 1:59.89 at the Pan Am Games on Tuesday.