Bay Area Packed Polo Team Goes For Gold

U.S. victorious in tough match with bitter rivals

The U.S. women's water polo team just took a big step toward their goal of bringing home the gold.

The U.S. beat Australia 11 to 9 in extra time in Tuesday’s semifinal match.

In a bruising match between the two favorites in London, Australia's Southern Ash converted a penalty with one second left on the clock in regulation to tie the match 9-9 and force extra time.

The officials awarded the penalty after U.S. coach Adam Krikorian called a time-out without his team having possession of the ball.

The Bay Area's own Maggie Steffens, who scored four goals in the game, put the U.S. ahead in the first of two three-minute extra-time periods with a skip shot, and Kami Craig followed up with another goal to give the Americans the 11-9 win and another shot at their first gold medal in the event.

Maggie is one of 7 team members with ties to the Bay Area.

The meeting at the water polo arena in Olympic Park was a rematch of the semifinal four years ago at the Beijing Games that the Americans won 9-8 behind three goals from Brenda Villa.  

And it's a game, historically, that's always been played for high stakes: The two teams have played each other at every Olympics since women's water polo debuted at the Sydney Games.

The winner will face either Hungary or Spain, who face off in the other semifinal.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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