USA, Italy Men to Meet in WUGs Water Polo Championship Match

World University Games Water Polo – Men

Italy and the United States will face off for the World University Games men’s water polo title on Saturday after defeating Russia and Hungary respectively in semifinals on Friday.

Friday’s Results

  • Italy def. Russia 14-6
  • USA def. Hungary 12-9

Friday’s Recaps

Italy def. Russia 14-6

Eight players scored for Italy as the hosts topped Russia 14-6 on Friday.

Giacomo Cannella put in four goals for Italy in the win, while Jacopo Alesiani netted a hat trick and Massimo Di Martire scored twice.

Igor Bychkov registered three goals, while Daniil Merkulov added two for Russia in the first semifinal.

Alesiani put Italy on the board with an action shot 3:30 minutes in. Bychkov followed with an extra player goal for Hungary 24 seconds later. The Italians then rattled off three straight goals to end the quarter: a penalty by Di Martire, an extra-player goal by Mario Del Basso and a center shot by Matteo Spione.

Each team made a penalty shot in the second quarter as the Italians squeaked ahead 7-3. A 3-0 third period gave Italy a 10-3 edge as Alesiani and Cannella buried action shots and Alesiani converted an extra-player opportunity with two minutes to go.

The teams traded goals leading to a 12-5 Italian lead. An action shot by Federico Panerai and a counter attack goal by Ettore Novara made it 13-5 Italy. Merkulov made it a seven-point game with two minutes to play in the game (13-6), while Di Martire wrapped up scoring with an action shot for Italy with 1:24 left.

USA def. Hungary 12-9

Hungary led 4-2 after the opening stanza and 7-5 at halftime, but the Americans turned it on the second half with a 7-2 push to make Sunday’s final.

Jacob Cavano and Quinn Woodhead notched hat tricks, while Jacob Ehrhardt and Kacper Langiewicz put in two goals apiece to pace the American attack.

Gergely Burian notched five goals for Hungary, while Tamas Gyarfas added two, including a penalty.

The USA scored first on a center shot by Langiewicz, only to see Hungary net three in a row on a 5-meter shot by Kristof Varnai, an action shot by Gyarfas and a counter attack by Burian.

Langiewicz found the back of the net again with 1:19 to play in the first to make it 4-2.

Cavano sunk an extra-player shot a minute and 24 seconds in period 2, but Burian put in an action shot and counter attack over the next minute and a half to put the Hungarians up 6-3. Up just one at 6-5 after two extra-player hits by Cavano, Hungary made a penalty by Gyarfas with one minute left in the first half (7-5).

Down 8-6, the United States got a center shot goal by Bennett Williams and an action shot from Tyler Abramson to knot the score at 8-all with just under three minutes to play in the third quarter.

From there, it was nearly all the Americans. A 5-meter shot by Ehrhardt and a counter by Woodhead made it 10-8 USA.

Burian had Hungary within one (10-9) with an extra-player shot, but Woodhead made an action shot and an extra-player shot in the last two minutes to seal the victory.

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