A Danville teen made Olympic headlines this week by scoring seven goals at Monday's water polo match that pitted Team USA against Hungary.
Maggie Steffens, 19, a defender on the U.S. women's water polo team, helped her team edge out Hungary in the preliminary round game with a 14-13 final score. Her older sister Jessica, 25, is one of her teammates.
Steffens' seven goals made the first-time Olympian a top-scorer in Olympic women's water polo history.
"Anybody who can score seven goals in the Olympics is pretty amazing," her former coach Maureen O'Toole Purcell said this morning.
Purcell, who is watching the games remotely from the Bay Area, co-owns the Danville-based Diablo Water Polo club where Steffens trained since she was 8 years old, along with her older sister and brother.
The Monte Vista High School graduate deferred her freshman year at Stanford University to train as the youngest member of the Olympic team, said Craig Bergman, Monte Vista's athletic director.
"She's the youngest and she's the best," Bergman said.
He said classmates, faculty and staff at Monte Vista have been following Maggie's and her sister's careers.
"They stood out not just as players but as human beings," he said.
Known for her school spirit and leadership, Maggie is extremely dedicated to her sport, the athletic director said. She even missed her high school graduation this spring to head to China for team training.
Purcell said she contributes to the spirit of teams she is part of.
"Even as the youngest on the team, she gets everyone pumped up," Purcell said.
Purcell, herself an Olympian who represented the U.S. in women's water polo in 2000 in Sydney, said she spoke to Maggie before she left and told her "to enjoy the moment and have fun -- and she is definitely doing both."
The silver-medalist coach said that during Monday's high-scoring game, Maggie "was just on" and "has no fear."
Three Diablo Water Polo club players are represented at the Olympics this summer, including Maggie's sister Jessica and 34-year-old University of California at Berkeley alumni Heather Petri, from Orinda.
Sibling Teresa Steffens took the week off from work to go to London, a coworker said this morning.
Teresa has been using Twitter to connect with the cheering squad back home. Early this morning, she posted a photo of a banner hung in the Steffens family's Danville neighborhood that read, "Shoot for gold, Jessica & Maggie Steffens."
The women's water polo team will face Spain on Wednesday.
Bay City News