The U.S. and Australian women put their offensive abilities on full display as they combined for 25 goals in a pre-Olympic showcase on Sunday at USC's Uytengsu Aquatics Center in Los Angeles.
Team USA had the hotter hand with eight different scorers contributing to a 14-11 win over Australia.
Future Stanford freshman Mackenzie Fischer scored three goals for Team USA. Photo courtesy USA Water Polo.
Australia carved what was once a four-goal USA lead down to a two-goal margin on two occasions in the second half of play, but Team USA had a response each time. Steffens converted a 5-meter penalty shot to scoot the USA ahead 13-10 late in the third.
Then, after Australia's Hannah Buckling cut it to 13-11 early in the fourth, USA's Kaleigh Gilchrist delivered a punishing cross-cage strike to take Team USA ahead 14-11.
The United States had Ashleigh Johnson go the distance in the cage, and the rangy goalie would anchor the U.S. defense. Two big stops by Johnson in the final couple minutes would help Team USA keep the Aussies at bay.
Team USA went 7 for 10 on power plays and converted its lone penalty shot while Australia went 5 for 10 on power plays and 1 for 1 on penalties.
The series resumes for these two teams on Tuesday evening at Fresno State and concludes on Thursday evening at Beckman High School in Irvine.
In men's competition Sunday, Stanford grads Alex Bowen and Tony Azevedo each scored a goal for Team USA during an 8-6 loss to Australia.