Courtesy: USA Water Polo
SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO, Calif. – The USA Men’s National Team closed out 2018 in front of a cheering packed stands at JSerra High School in San Juan Capistrano, California but fell short in the pool losing to Italy 10-5. The match closed out a three game series that Italy took 2-1. Max Irving (Long Beach, CA/UCLA/NYAC) led the USA offense with two goals while Jack Turner (Fremont, CA/UC San Diego/Sunset San Diego) was strong in net posting 10 saves including a penalty shot stop. To watch a full replay of the match that aired on Eleven Sports, click here.
Italy took advantage of Team USA miscues early to build a 2-0 lead after the first quarter. Their defense and counter attack kept up the intensity in the second quarter as they doubled their advantage to 4-0 thanks in large part to a game high five goals from Francesco Di Fulvio. Team USA got on the board in the waning seconds of the first half as Duncan Lynde (Laguna Beach, CA/Long Beach State/SET) powered home a goal for a 4-1 deficit at halftime.
In the third quarter Italy went back in front by four before Team USA ran off two straight goals from Irving and Luca Cupido (Santa Margherita Ligure, Italy/California/Olympic Club) to make it 5-3 with 5:56 to play in the quarter. That would be as close as Team USA would get as Italy would score five of the next four goals with three coming from Di Fulvio. Ahead 9-4 after three quarters the Italy defense did the job in the fourth quarter limiting Team USA to just one goal to secure the 10-5 victory.
Team USA went 1/6 on power plays and 1/1 on penalties while Italy was 0/6 on power plays and 1/2 on penalties. Next up for Team USA will be a trip to Sao Paulo, Brazil for the FINA World Championship Qualification in January. Team USA finishes 2018 with a record of 18-12.
USA 5 (0, 1, 3, 1) M. Irving 2, A. Obert 1, D. Lynde 1, L. Cupido 1
ITA 10 (2, 2, 5, 1) F. Di Fulvio 5, M. Aicardi 2, A. Velotto 1, N. Presciutti 1, L. Bruni 1
Saves – USA – J. Turner 10 – ITA – F. Di Michelis 10
6×5 – USA – 1/6 – ITA 0-6
Penalties – USA – 1/1 – ITA – 1/2
Officials: Haz Ortega, Sergio Macias