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Gold! Maggie Steffens Scores 5 to Lead U.S. Over Spain

Maggie Steffens is one of three members of the U.S Olympic women's water polo team who will be playing for Stanford next spring.

Four years ago, the then 15-year-old Maggie Steffens sat in the stands with family and frends in Beijing and watched her older sister Jessica and the United States women's water polo team lose in the Olympic gold medal match in the final seconds.

Thursday, Maggie Steffens joined her sister on the team and was in the pool in London when the Americans won their first gold medal ever in water polo, men or women.

(The 1904 Olympics featured three U.S. men's water polo team. No other country competed).

The younger Steffens scored five goals, giving her 21 for the tournament, and secured her place in Olympic history following Team USA's 8-5 win over Spain.

Steffens could probably be considered the best offensive player in the world right now and she hasn't even taken a college course yet.

That will happen in September when she shows up for her freshman year at Stanford University. Two other Olympic gold medalists, Melissa Seidemann and Annika Dries, will also be on The Farm.

While Steffens delayed the start of her college career, Seidemann has already played three years before taking her redshirt season this year. Dries played for the Cardinal two years and took this year off.

Stanford is already the two-time defending NCAA women's water polo champions. Add three Olympians to the mix next year, replacing three graduated seniors, and the world is their kingdom.

In addition, Jessica Steffens and Brenda Villa can also say they have earned an Olympic gold medal to go with a NCAA title. Villa, the four-time Olympian, is retiring this year. She will continue to coach, however, at Castilleja School in Palo Alto, just down the street from Stanford.

The local connections don't stop with the players. Olympic coach Adam Krikorian is a Mountain View native who has also coached five national championship teams at UCLA.

Dries was named the National Player of the Year in her sophomore year. Stanford's Kiley Neushul was the National Player of the Year this season as a freshman.

Spain took a 2-1 lead early in the second quarter, but the U.S., with Maggie Steffens leading the way, scored six straight goals and were content to run out the clock in the final period.

The go-ahead goal, scored by Maggie, was assisted by Jessica. Villa and Seidemann also scored goals.

While Maggie, who joined the national team not long after her trip to Beijing, is considered an offensive force, Jessica is considered one of the great defensive players in the game.

After the victory, Maggie raced over to where her family and friends were sitting and grabbed an American flag.

"I was like, 'where's a flag?' " she screamed.

 

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