Hungary, Italy, Russia, USA Make Men’s Water Polo Semis at WUGs

World University Games Water Polo – Women

Hungary, Italy, Russia and the United States are set to clash in the final race to the medal stand in men’s water polo at the World University Games after each won in the quarterfinals on Wednesday.

Russia downed Australia 13-7, the USA edged Croatia 12-11, Hungary pummeled Japan 18-3 and host Italy claimed the last semifinal spot with a 15-9 win over France.

The semifinalists will now have two days of rest before resuming action on Saturday.

Play continues on Thursday with the 9th/10th place match between Korea and Great Britain as well as seeding matches for the 5th/6th and 7th/8th place contests.

France will battle Australia in the first seeding match, while Croatia will take on Japan.

Wednesday Results

Russia def. Australia 13-7

Daniil Merkulov, Igor Bychkov and Emil Zinnurov turned in hat tricks as Russia cruised past Australia including a 5-0 opening quarter. Russia outscored the Aussies 7-3 in the second half.

Reilly Townsend managed a hat trick for Australia. Each team put in one penalty shot.

Bychkov scored twice in the opening stanza as Russia jumped ahead 5-0. Zinnurov added his second goal under two minutes into the second quarter to make it 6-0.

Australia followed with six goals of its own to tie the score at 6-all at the 5:53 mark in the third quarter as Townsend netted an action shot.

The momentum swung back to Russia, which scored seven in a row to vault ahead 13-6. A 5-meter shot, an extra man goal, two center shot goals and finally a penalty by Bychkov highlighted the run.

Australia rounded out the scoring with a final tally by Townsend with 42 seconds to play.

USA def. Croatia 12-11

The United States trailed 10-8 with just over seven minutes left to play, but outscored Croatia 4-1 down the stretch for the win.

Tyler Abramson led all scorers with five goals for the Americans, while Jacob Ehrhardt and Bennett Williams added hat tricks.

Branimir Herceg, Zvonimir Butic, Antonio Buha and Dario Rakovac put in two goals apiece amongst seven Croatian scorers.

The Americans struck first, taking a 3-1 lead in the first quarter, including a penalty by Abramson. Croatia tied it at 3-all, before a goal by Ehrhardt with 30 seconds left put the USA back on top.

Down 7-4 with 3:25 left in the second quarter, Croatia began its comeback with action shots by Rakovac and Herceg. Buha added one just a minute into the third period and an extra-man goal by Lazic two and a half minutes later (4:49) gave Croatia its first lead (8-7).

Abramson converted a penalty (4:02) to tie it, but extra-man shots by Pejkovic (2:07, 3rd) and Rakovac (7:20) had the USA down two in the final period.

Williams scored for the Americans (7:10), but Biljaka answered for Croatia (6:20), making it 11-9. The United States scored the final three goals to steal away the win.

Williams (4:10) and Abramson (3:09) hit extra-man shots to tie it up at 11 and Abrmason issued the final blow with a 5-meter goal with 51 seconds to play.

Hungary def. Japan 18-3

Hungary led 6-3 after the opening stanza and continued to pour it on late, outscoring Japan 12-0 over the final three quarters.

Nine players scored for Hungary, led by Kristof Varnai‘s four goals and six other multi-goal efforts. Hungary converted on all five of its penalty shots, including two by Tamas Gyarfas, while not allowing Japan a single attempt.

Kohei Inaba, Kiyomu Date and Toi Suzuki each managed one goal for Japan.

Hungary made two penalties in the first quarter and added one in each of the final three stanzas. The Hungarians scored just twice in the second quarter, but put in five goals apiece in the third and fourth to close out the win.

Japan made just three of its 21 shots, while Hungary scored on 18 of its 32 attempts.

Italy def. France 15-9

Italy owned a 9-6 lead at halftime and held off France with six more goals in the final 16 minutes.

Giacomo Cannella scored four times, while Jacopo Alesiani and Massimo Di Martire added hat tricks for Italy.

Mathias Olivon, Steven Vitrant and Romain Marion-Vernoux put in two goals apiece for France.

The teams were tied at three after the first six minutes of the game, but Italy led 5-3 after the opening period. The French pulled within one twice in the second quarter, first at 5-4 on a 5-meter goal by Vitrant (7:00) and next on an extra player score by Adrien VanDamme (5:00).

From there, Italy boosted its lead to six at 13-7 with eight minutes left as Alesiani added two scores and the team made good on three extra-man opportunities.

France scored first in the final stanza on an extra-player goal by Olivon (7:10), but Cannella answered with one of his own less than a minute later. Alesiani made it 15-8 with a counter attack goal just under the five minute mark. Alexandre Bouet slipped in an extra-man goal with three seconds to play to add one final tally for the French.

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