Steffens Leads U.S. Back to Gold-medal Water Polo Match

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Team USA finally faced an opponent capable of scoring more than six times against the Americans at these Rio Olympics. Hungary tallied 10, the most by an opponent of the defending Olympic champions, in a semifinal loss to the U.S. on Wednesday. Paced by four goals from tournament scoring leader Maggie Steffens, the U.S. held off an inspired Hungarian attack to win 14-10, earning a spot in Saturday’s gold medal match against Italy.

…Maddie Musselman and Kiley Neushul had two goals apiece for the U.S., which is trying to become the first country to repeat as Olympic champions… The United States has won 21 in a row, including its five games in Rio by a combined score of 61-27.

The Hungarians were able to pierce what had been the stingiest defense among all women’s teams in Rio though they were never able to overcome the Americans’ versatile attack. The Europeans held a 2-1 lead early and briefly as the U.S. had responses to successful Hungarian attacks throughout the game.

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The Americans will attempt to defend their 2012 London title against Italy, which defeated Russia 12-9 in the other semifinal. Italy remains undefeated in the 2016 Games.

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