Courtesy: USA Water Polo
Tbilisi, Georgia – June 29 – The USA Men’s National Team advanced to the semifinal round of the FINA World League Super Final after a hard fought 12-11 win over France. Hannes Daube scored three goals and was named player of the game with Alex Wolf recording 11 saves in net. Team USA now meets Italy on Wednesday at 12pm et/9am pt in the semifinal round. Live stats will be available for each match by clicking here, with live streaming available of the semifinal (Wednesday) and final day (Thursday) of competition via FloSports, by clicking here (subscription required). Nominees to the U.S. Olympic Men’s Water Polo roster will be announced July 2 at 11am pt.
France started off strong, unloading five goals in the first quarter. Team USA took a 2-1 lead late in the first quarter on a Marko Vavic goal but France responded with four goals in the span of just over two minutes to take a 5-2 lead going into the second quarter. Team USA returned the favor in the second scoring five unanswered goals of their own for a 7-5 advantage at intermission. After Daube made it 5-3, Dylan Woodhead scored back-to-back goals to tie the game at 5-5 with 4:32 left in the half. Vavic and Daube closed out the second quarter with goals to secure the two score advantage.
The teams alternated goals to start off the third quarter until France strung together consecutive scores to even the match at 9-9 with 2:09 to play in the period. Daube came back with his third goal of the match moments later and then Ben Stevenson added to the scoring with a goal with :42 left for an 11-9 edge going to the fourth. The scoring slowed over the final eight minutes but France got within a goal at 11-10 with 5:29 to play. Alex Bowen connected on a clutch penalty shot score less than two minutes later to push the lead back to two at 12-10. France made one last push clawing back to within one at 12-11 with :32 left. Team USA got the ball back and then drew an exclusion with :15 to play allowing them to run out the clock and take the 12-11 victory.
Team USA went 6/14 on power plays and 2/2 on penalties while France went 4/8 on power plays and 1/1 on penalties. Ugo Crousillat led all French scorers with four goals.
Scoring – Stats
USA 12 (2, 5, 4, 1) H. Daube 3, M. Vavic 2, D. Woodhead 2, A. Bowen 2, A. Obert 1, B. Hallock 1. B. Stevenson 1
FRA 11 (5, 0, 4, 2) U. Crousillat 4, A. Bouet 3, C. Canonne 2, R. Marion Vernoux 2
Saves – USA – A. Wolf 11 – FRA – H. Fontani 12
6×5 – USA – 6/14 – FRA – 4/8
Penalties – USA – 2/2 – FRA – 1/1