vCourtesy USA Water Polo:
Gold Coast, Australia – April 30 – The USA Men’s National Team claimed silver at the 2017 FINA Men’s Intercontinental Tournament following an 8-6 loss to Australia. Johnny Hooper (Los Angeles, CA/California/LA Premier) scored two goals and was the tourney’s top scorer while Alex Wolf (Huntington Beach, CA/UCLA/Bruin) made 17 saves and was named top goalkeeper. To watch a replay of the USA-Australia match, click here.
Match report via Fina.org
USA was out for amends following the 12-8 loss in the rounds and had a two-goal margin by 5:44. Johnathan Hooper scored on a drive and Nolan McConnell caught everyone napping with an outside shot that was not contested. Luke Pavillard responded at 2:57 for the home team in front of a large crowd when he drilled one on extra from deep right. Having multi-Olympian Johnno Cotterill come north to play the last three matches was a Godsend for Australia. He scored six yesterday and scored twice more to lift the Sharks to the lead. One was on extra and the second from his unaccustomed centre-forward position with a backhand to bring up the first break.
Nicholas Brooks went on counter to lift the margin to two at the start of the second quarter. Matthew De Trayne responded for the USA on extra when two Aussies were sidelined. Captain Joe Kayes took it out to 5-3 with a one-on-one score. Both teams took timeouts and squandered chances, although USA made the most of some poor defence with a Hooper drive nine seconds from time. James Fannon converted extra from the top for another two-goal lead, midway through the third period. Olympian Alex Roelse responded on extra after a swift pass from Hooper, allowing Roelse to drag the ball backwards into goal for 6-5 at 3:01. No further goals came with so much defence, especially from the goalkeepers.
The pressure continued in the fourth quarter with a gold medal at stake. Kayes finessed a goal from centre forward after several backhand attempts not working. He turned slightly and slid the ball into goal as Alexander Wolf left his line and went out to Kayes. A minute later Hannes Daube screamed in a bouncing shot from eight metres for 7-6 and the match was still very much alive. Kayes gained an exclusion in what was a torrid time in the hole position and coach Elvis Fatovic called a timeout at 2:29. There were several errors by both teams and finally Australia had a strong attack. USA pressed and thought it had won the ball. Fannon managed to keep possession, fired the ball down to the unattended Pavillard in the right pocket and he made no mistake with the shot and the Aussie Sharks had won the final.
“It was an open game and we started well but we made several big mistakes and it cost us the win. (The tournament) gave the opportunity for the younger players to show if we can count on them in the future. The youngsters proved they are going in the right direction. I am satisfied they have the energy, motivation and approach. We came to qualify and we did that,” said Dejan Udovicic, Team USA Head Coach.
Team USA went 2/3 on power plays while Australia went 1/5 with neither side attempting a penalty shot.
USA 6 (2, 2, 1, 1) J. Hooper 2, E. Daube 1, N. McConnell 1, A. Roelse 1, M. De Trane 1
AUS 8 (3, 2, 1, 2)
Saves – USA – A. Wolf 17
6×5 – USA – 2/3 – AUS – 1/5
Penalties – USA – 0/0 – AUS – 0/0