By Paul D. Bowker | March 25, 2016, 12:01 a.m. (ET)
Maggie Steffens competes in the women's water polo preliminary round at the 15th FINA World Championships at the Piscines Bernat Picornell on July 21, 2013 in Barcelona, Spain.


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The USA Water Polo Women’s National Team is within one win of clinching a berth in the Rio de Janeiro 2016 Olympic Games.

The United States is the defending Olympic champion but must finish among the top four in this week’s Olympic Qualification Tournament in order to qualify for Rio. A win in Saturday’s quarterfinals in Gouda, Netherlands, would lock down a spot.

The U.S. women got off to a good start in the tournament, winning their first three matches to clinch a spot in Saturday’s quarterfinal round. They will face South Africa in their final preliminary round match Friday. The quarterfinals are Saturday, followed by the semifinals Sunday and championship match Monday.

Makenzie Fischer scored four goals in a physical 8-6 win Wednesday over Spain and Maddie Musselman scored three times Tuesday in a 14-7 win over Canada.

Four members of this year’s team were on the squad that won a gold medal in the London 2012 Olympic Games: team captain and MVP Maggie Steffens, Courtney Mathewson, Melissa Seidemann and Kami Craig, the team’s only two-time Olympian. Others include goalkeeper Ashleigh Johnson, a 2016 Sullivan Award nominee, and Rachel Fattal, MVP of the 2015 FINA World Championships.

TV: 4:30 p.m. ET Saturday, NBC Sports Network

Webcast: 7 a.m. Saturday, NBC Sports Live Extra

Paul D. Bowker is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.