Courtesy: USA Water Polo
Strasbourg, France – July 26 – The USA Men’s National Team will play for gold at the FINA World League Super Final following a 16-15 win over France. Max Irving scored five goals and Alex Bowen added four scores with Jack Turner recording eight saves in cage. Team USA will take on Italy in the championship match tomorrow at 2pm et/11am pt. Live streaming is available by clicking here, with live stats available by clicking here.
After falling to France to open the competition at the Super Final, the USA Men got off to a hot start in the rematch taking a 4-0 lead early. Bowen, Chase Dodd, Irving and Hannes Daube delivered the goals early. France scored two of the next three goals and it was a 5-2 lead for Team USA headed to the second quarter. Bowen opened the scoring in the second quarter for a 6-2 lead. France scored four of the next five to but the deficit down to one goal at 7-6 with 1:27 remaining in the half. Irving and Ben Stevenson scored two of the next three goals, hitting on power plays to lead 9-7 at halftime.
Early in the third quarter the United States rebuilt a substantial lead going in front 12-7 thanks to goals from Stevenson, Daube and Bowen. France turned things around scoring three of the next four goals to make it a 13-10 match with action headed to the fourth. However, prior to the end of the third quarter, Marko Vavic was called for a penalty foul with exclusion, giving France a four-minute power play that stretched into the fourth quarter. France took full advantage, scoring three in a row to open the fourth, tying the match at 13-13 with 4:09 to play.
Back at full strength, the USA squad returned to form scoring the next two goals, both on power plays from Irving for a 15-13 lead. Undaunted, France battled back scoring twice to tie the match at 15-15 with 1:16 to play. Irving capped off an excellent performance, drawing a penalty with time winding down, setting up Daube to score the game winning goal with :45 left in the quarter. One final power play for France faltered and Team USA held on for the one goal win.
Team USA went 6/10 on power plays and 5/5 on penalties while France went 4/11 on power plays and 2/2 on penalties.
Scoring – Stats
- USA 16 (5, 4, 4, 3) M. Irving 5, A. Bowen 4, H. Daube 3, B. Stevenson 2, C. Dodd 1, T. Gruwell 1
- FRA 15 (2, 5, 3, 5) M. Marzouki 4, T. Vernoux 3, A. Bouet 3, U. Crousillat 3, R. Marion Vernoux 1, E. Bjorch 1
- Saves – USA – J. Turner 7 – FRA – H. Fontani 17
- 6×5 – USA – 6/10 – FRA 4/11
- Penalties – USA – 5/5 FRA – 2/2