The United States women's water polo team is heading to the final in Rio to defend its gold medal at the 2012 Olympics.
They beat Hungary 14-10, extending their winning streak over the nation in major competitions to eight games. The U.S. will face Italy in the gold medal match on Friday.
Maggie Steffens, a native of Danville and Stanford University graduate, led the way for the U.S., potting four goals on five shots. Madeline Musselman and Kiley Neushul, another Stanford graduate, contributed two goals apiece. Another former Cardinal competitor, Melissa Seidemann, tallied one goal.
Italy stayed undefeated against Russia in the earlier semifinal match, doing what they’ve done all tournament – played great defense and scored just enough to win.
They Italians allowed just 22 goals in their previous four games. Although Russia was able to put up nine, it was the Italian offense, led by Arianna Garibotti, that did what was needed to move on.
This will be just the second trip to the gold medal game for Italy’s women’s water polo team, and whether they win gold or silver, it will be just the second medal won by the Italian women’s team all time — Italy won gold at the 2004 Olympics in Athens.
If Russia wins a bronze, it will be just the second medal won by the Russian women in the Olympics. Russia also won bronze at the 2000 Olympics, the first time women’s water polo was played in the Games.
The gold medal game will take place Friday at 2:30 p.m. ET. The bronze medal game will take place Friday at 10:20 a.m. ET.