Bergamo, Italy – June 26 – Luca Cupido (Newport Beach, CA/California/Newport) drew a penalty with 2.5 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter and Tony Azevedo (Long Beach, CA/Stanford/NYAC) converted to lift the USA Men’s National Team over Hungary 8-7 earlier today in quarterfinal action at the FINA World League Super Final. The win sends Team USA into the semifinals and helps erase the memory of three straight losses to open play in the tournament.
Still in the mix for a berth to the 2016 Olympic Games, awarded to the winner, Team USA will meet the winner of Croatia and Italy on Saturday at 2pm et/11am pt. A live webcast is available and can be viewed by clicking here.
Team USA got off to a strong start in this match opening up a 2-0 lead after the first quarter and a 3-0 lead early in the second period. The powerful offense of Hungary eventually got on track as they mustered three goals in the period to leave the match tied at 3-3 at intermission. Hungary pushed ahead in the third taking a 6-4 lead before it was Team USA’s turn to rally. Azevedo scored one of his three goals on the day and John Mann (Newport Beach, CA/California/NYAC) delivered a spinning score from two meters to even the game.
Alex Bowen (Santee, CA/Stanford/NYAC) connected for a score around the five minute mark of the fourth period to put the United States ahead 7-6. Hungary had one last charge as they delivered an extended offensive possession in the final 90 seconds of the match, drawing a penalty around the one minute mark. Denes Varga scored and the match was tied at 7-7. That set the stage for the end of the match and the drive from Cupido resulting in the penalty opportunity for Azevedo.
USA 8 (2, 1, 3, 2) T. Azevedo 3, L. Cupido 1, J. Mann 1, B. Bonanni 1, A. Bowen 1, J. Samuels 1
HUN 7 (0, 3, 3, 1)
The two teams were even at the start with the scored tied at 3-3 after the first eight minutes. Italy took control in the second period outscoring Team USA 4-0 to build a 7-3 lead at halftime. Team USA rallied with three goals in the third but Italy responded with two of their own and maintained an advantage at 9-6. The match ended with a flurry of goals as both teams delivered four goals each over the final eight minutes. For Team USA while the offense came to the life, the defense couldn’t slow the Italians falling by a final score of 13-10.
USA 10 (3, 0, 3, 4) B. Bonanni 3, T. Azevedo 2, C. Virjee 1, A. Roelse 1, L. Cupido 1, J. Samuels 1, A. Bowen 1
ITA 13 (3, 4, 2, 4)