US women win 1st gold in Olympic water polo

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US Women's Water Polo

US women’s water polo team celebrates winning gold in finals, London 2012 Summer Olympics (AP Photo)

(AP) – The United States won its first gold medal in women’s water polo, getting five goals from Maggie Steffens and a sterling performance from goalkeeper Betsey Armstrong to cruise to an 8-5 win over Spain on Thursday.

The Americans overpowered a young Spanish team on both ends of the pool to lead 5-2 by halftime, and they never looked back.

The U.S. has long been a power in women’s water polo, but the Americans had never translated their success at other major competitions to the Olympics, taking bronze in 2004 and silver in 2000 and 2008. The U.S. came to London with seven players back from the Beijing squad and a talented batch of new players, chief among them the 19-year-old Steffens, who led all scorers in London with 21 goals.

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