U.S. Women's Water Polo Team Defeats Japan in Team's First Match of Tokyo Olympics

·2 min read
Paige Hauschild water polo
Paige Hauschild water polo

AP Photo/Mark Humphrey Paige Hauschild during Saturday's Game

In just under an hour, Team USA's women's water polo team proved why they're a force to be reckoned with.

The athletes defeated host country Japan in a preliminary match at the Tatsumi Water Polo Center in Tokyo 25-4 on Saturday, making history in the process. They surpassed a 2012 record of most goals in an Olympic Games, as well as the record of most goals in a half with their 14.

Team captain Maggie Steffens, 28, scored the first goal in the match and ended it with five total. Of the nine Team USA players to score, Madeline Musselman and Aria Fischer also each had four goals.

RELATED: U.S. Women's Water Polo Olympian Maggie Steffens Says Unity Has Propelled Team 'Through a Lot

Still, the women are always focused on what they can improve — especially before facing their next Group B opponent, China on Monday.

"Our focus was a little bit off," Steffens tells PEOPLE while speaking with reporters at the match. "And I think just re-harnessing that focus, especially in the beginning of the game. I also think we could have been sharper on defense just with our connections on passes. And some of our shots were just a little bit off."

Maggie Steffens water polo
Maggie Steffens water polo

Marcel ter Bals/BSR Agency/Getty Images Maggie Steffens

She continues, "And so the more we can just fine-tune those the better, but that's what the Games are for. You go out there and you play, you give it your best, and then you evaluate ... 'What can we do better?' "

RELATED:Team USA Water Polo Star Maggie Steffens Says How Team's Bond Helped Her Cope with Olympics Delay

Steffens says "really fortunate" that her "entire family" and boyfriend are staying in a house together back in the states in Denver, Colorado. She said despite the early morning hours, her loved ones were awake to watch the game.

Luckily, that means she doesn't have to call just one person to call to celebrate Saturday's victory.

"I know all of them are going to be on that FaceTime, really excited," she says. "I could feel their energy. ... So almost like you can hear them without them actually being here. And you could tell that our team felt that as well today."

To learn more about Team USA, visit TeamUSA.org. Watch the Tokyo Olympics now on NBC.

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