The comfortable victory saw the U.S. topple a number of records at the Games as the team starts the chase for a third consecutive gold medal in women’s water polo.
Head coach Adam Krikorian challenged the players in the buildup to Saturday’s opener at the Tatsumi Water Polo Centre by saying “pressure is a privilege,” and the athletes answered with a commanding win.
In what the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) called the “most prolific offensive attack in Olympics history,” the victory saw the U.S. score a record 25 goals (surpassing the 16 scored by China and Australia at the London Games in 2012) and the most goals in a half, 14, four more than the previous record of 10.
The 21-point victory also overtook Australia’s 16-3 win over Great Britain in 2012 as the most one-sided win in Olympics history.
Maggie Steffens and Stephanie Haralabidis scored five goals each — Steffens scored just 21 seconds into the match — while Madeline Musselman and Aria Fischer scored four apiece. Paige Hauschild and Kaleigh Gilchrist also grabbed two each with nine U.S. players scoring overall. At the other end, Ashleigh Johnson stopped 15 of 19 shots.
Team USA’s next match is against China on Monday.