Youngster leads USA water polo to opening win, Betsey Armstrong makes 6 saves
The U.S. women's water polo team is full of players with extensive international experience, including Ann Arbor native Betsey Armstrong.
In Monday's preliminary-round opener, it was 19-year-old Maggie Steffens that led the Americans to victory in her Olympic debut.
Steffens tied an Olympic Games record by scoring seven goals in a 14-13 win over Hungary.
Armstrong made six saves for Team USA, which never trailed in the high-scoring match. The score was tied on three occasions, the last at 8-8 early in the third period.
Courtney Matthewson, who scored four goals, gave the Americans a 12-9 lead early in the fourth and the U.S. was able to hold off a late Hungary charge.
Neither Armstrong nor U.S. coach Adam Krikorian were thrilled with the performance.
"There are a lot of different defense methods and there was a lot of scrambling throughout the game," Armstrong said. "So, perhaps we need to be more organized."
Krikorian said his team "made some bad mistakes, which were due to us being anxious. We need more composure."
The U.S. faces Spain at 1:20 p.m. Tuesday. The match will air live on NBC.
With seven players back from the Beijing squad, the Americans are the favorite to win a gold medal in London, along with rival Australia. The U.S. has finished on the podium at every Olympics since the women's game debuted in 2000, taking home bronze in 2004 and silver in 2000 and 2008.