Team USA's Annika Dries defends against a Hungary player. Dries helped the U.S. open the 2012 Games with a 14-13 victory. (Jeff Cable, Coastline Pilot / August 2, 2012)

Annika Dries recorded a first Wednesday, and it's a feat she won't forget.

The Laguna Beach athlete scored her first goal in Olympic competition as the U.S. women's water polo team played Spain to a 9-9 tie. Team USA had held a 9-6 lead late in the fourth quarter.

The outcome left both teams 1-0-1 and tied for first place in the Group A pool standings.

Team USA concludes preliminary play Friday against China. The match will be shown on tape delay at 1:40 p.m. (PST) on NBC.

Dries' goal tied the score early in the second half.

Team USA trailed, 5-3, at the half, but crept to within 5-4 when Kami Craig scored the first of her three goals in the third quarter. Dries then came up with a steal on the defensive end near mid-pool, started the counter attack and drove toward the left side perimeter of Spain's goal. She passed off to teammate Brenda Villa, drove to the hole and took a return pass from Villa. Despite having a defender in front of her, Dries fired the ball into the lower right side of the net.

Her goal tied the score at 5. Team USA took its first lead, 7-6, on Craig's third goal late in the quarter. Craig led the scoring with four goals.

Team USA built its lead to 9-6 in the fourth quarter, but Spain scored the tying goal with just under a minute to play.

Dries also contributed to Team USA's tournament opening win Monday against Hungary. She had a steal in just under nine minutes of playing time as the U.S. held on for a 14-13 victory. Teammate Maggie Steffens scored seven goals to tie a single-game Olympic Games record.

Steffens tied the single-game record set by Danielle de Bruijn of the Netherlands at the 2008 Beijing Games.

Team USA Coach Adam Krikorian said his team had opening-game jitters.

"We made some bad mistakes, which were down to us being anxious," he said. "We need more composure."

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Women's Beach Volleyball

Laguna Beach resident Jen Kessy (Dana Hills High) and partner April Ross (Newport Harbor High) are 3-0 in Olympic play.

The duo, ranked fourth in the tournament, won their third Pool D match Thursday morning, 21-19, 19-21, 19-17 against Spain's Liliana Fernandez Steiner and Elsa Baquerizo McMillan, who like Kessy and Ross entered the match undefeated.

Kessy finished with 18 kills and 10 digs and Ross added 22 kills and 10 digs.

On Tuesday, Kessy and Ross won their second match by defeating Marleen Van Iersel and Sanne Keizer of the Netherlands, 25-15, 12-21, 15-8, on the grounds of the Horse Gardens Parade. Kessy had 14 kills, 12 digs, two blocks and one ace.

In their Olympic opener Sunday, Kessy and Ross swept Maria Virginia Zonta and Ana Gallay of Argentina, 21-11, 21-18.

The other U.S. team in the tournament — No. 3-ranked Misty May-Treanor(Newport Harbor High) and Kerri Walsh Jennings (Archbishop Mitty High, San Jose) — dropped their first set in three Olympic Games tournaments Wednesday but came back to defeat Doris and Stefanie Schwaiger of Austria, 17-21, 21-8, 15-10. It was the third win in as many Pool C matches for the pair.

michael.sciacca@latimes.com

Twitter: @MikeSciacca