TOKYO - Sparked by contributions from five Cardinal standouts, the U.S. women's water polo team defeated Spain 14-5 to extend its dominance as the world's top program and secure its third straight Olympic gold medal.
The only nation to capture three consecutive gold medals after winning it all in Rio (2016) and London (2012), the United States is also the only country to medal in every Olympic Games featuring women's water polo. Appearing in its fourth straight Olympic final and fifth overall, Team USA has also captured silver twice (2008, 2000) and bronze (2004).
The United States produced another dominant tournament run at the 2020 Olympic Games, with three of its five victories coming by double-digits. The only blemish was a rare 10-9 loss to Hungary in group play, representing Team USA's first setback at the Olympic Games since the 2008 final.
Fueling Team USA's success was Stanford's contingent of Aria Fischer, Makenzie Fischer, Jamie Neushul, Melissa Seidemann and Maggie Steffens. Boasting five players on Team USA's 13-member squad, the Cardinal standouts accounted for 44.0 percent of the team's scoring, contributing 48 of its 109 total goals.
Leading the way once again was team captain Maggie Steffens, who finished with 18 goals in tournament play while achieving a milestone along the way. Steffens delivered her 48th career goal in a July 30 victory over the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC), passing Italy's Tania Di Mario to become the Olympics all-time scoring leader.
Steffens joins Seidemann, who contributed five goals during tournament play, as three-time Olympic gold medalists.
Sisters Makenzie Fischer and Aria Fischer continued their progression as key contributors for Team USA, earning the second gold medal of their careers. Makenzie Fischer finished with 14 goals while Aria Fischer added 10.
Making her Olympic debut after being activated as an alternate for Team USA's opener against Japan, Neushul scored her only goal in a win over the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC) in the group stage.
With one day of competition remaining, Stanford has produced 25 total medals in Tokyo, capturing nine gold, seven silver and nine bronze.
United States Water Polo at the 2020 Olympics
|Date||Round||Result||Stanford Goal Scorers|
|July 24||Group||USA 25, Japan 4||Steffens 5, A. Fischer 4, M. Fischer 1, Seidemann 1|
|July 26||Group||USA 12, China 7||M. Fischer 3, A. Fischer 1, Seidemann 1, Steffens 1|
|July 28||Group||Hungary 10, USA 9||M. Fischer 2, Seidemann 1, Steffens 1|
|July 30||Group||USA 18, ROC 5||Steffens 4, M. Fischer 2, Neushul 1|
|Aug. 3||Quarterfinals||USA 16, Canada 5||M. Fischer 3, Steffens 3, A. Fischer 2|
|Aug. 5||Semifinals||USA 15, ROC 11||Steffens 3, M. Fischer 2, A. Fischer 1, Seidemann 1|
|Aug. 7||Gold Medal Match||USA 14, Spain 5||A. Fischer 2, M. Fischer 1, Seidemann 1, Steffens 1|