Olympic Water Polo 2012: Day 13 Results, Schedule & Analysis
U.S. center back Maggie Steffens saved her best performance for last, capping her Olympic debut with a five-goal outing and propelling her team to its first ever gold medal in an 8-5 win over Spain.
The 19-year-old Steffens went a perfect 5-for-5 from the field, peppering the Spanish goal in every possible way. Steffens connected with a center shot, an extra shot, a seven-meter shot, a penalty shot and a counterattack, demonstrating the technical ability and versatility she's brought to this team.
The five goals gave Steffens a tournament-best 21, getting there with only 27 attempts at goal, scoring at a mind-blowing 77.8 percent efficiency rate.
The Americans were determined not to let their old mistakes haunt them, as they let Spain score two goals in the last two minutes of regulation in a 9-9 tie during group play in Aug. 1.
The Americans frustrated the Spanish attack and capitalized clinically in their offensive opportunities, giving them a 5-2 lead at halftime, which became an 8-2 cushion a few minutes into the fourth quarter.
Goalkeeper Betsey Armstrong capped a heroic performance in these London Games, recording eight saves, one of them a penalty shot in the fourth quarter.
The U.S., having medaled in the last three Olympics (two silver and one bronze), achieved its first gold medal in women's water polo since the event was introduced in Sydney.
Australia took bronze after defeating Hungary 13-11 in overtime, thanks to two late goals from Gemma Beadsworth, who totaled four in the contest.
China earned fifth place in a 16-15 overtime win over Russia. Italy took seventh thanks to an 11-7 victory over Great Britain, which has lost every match these Olympics.
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