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U.S. Olympic women's water polo team includes Brenda Villa

The three-time medal winner is among 11 Californians on an experienced team that aims for gold at 2012 London Games.

May 17, 2012|By Kevin Baxter
  • U.S. attacker Brenda Villa takes part in a match against Hungary in London on May 3. Villa was officially named to the U.S. women's water polo team on Thursday.
U.S. attacker Brenda Villa takes part in a match against Hungary in London… (Clive Rose / Getty Images )

The United States is the only country to have medaled in each of the first three Olympic water polo tournaments for women. And Coach Adam Krikorian relied heavily on that experience Thursday when he selected the 13-woman team for this summer's London Games.

Eight of the players Krikorian named have at least one Olympic medal, and attackers Brenda Villa and Heather Petri have three.

"We have focused on becoming a team in and out of the water, which will help us in London," said Villa, the U.S. captain and one of 11 Californians on the team. "We have a great mix of older and younger players that will help us as well."

The U.S. lost in the closing seconds of the gold-medal games in 2000 and 2008 and won a bronze in between, in 2004.

"Ending any tournament on a loss, whether it's an Olympics or not, is difficult to get over," said Betsey Armstrong, who rebounded from the disappointment in Beijing in 2008 to become the world's best goalkeeper. But, she continued, the goal now is to take care of unfinished business this summer.

"Everybody knows [the gold] is the one medal that isn't there," she said.

The roster:

Goalkeepers: Betsey Armstrong (Ann Arbor, Mich.), Tumua Anae (Newport Beach). Attackers: Heather Petri (Orinda, Calif.), Brenda Villa (Commerce), Courtney Mathewson (Anaheim Hills), Kelly Rulon (San Diego). Defenders: Melissa Seidemann (Walnut Creek, Calif), Maggie Steffens (Danville, Calif.), Jessica Steffens (Danville, Calif.), Elsie Windes (Portland, Ore.). All-around: Lauren Wenger (Long Beach). Centers: Annika Dries (Laguna Beach), Kami Craig (Santa Barbara).

kevin.baxter@latimes.com

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