Kazan, Russia – July 31 – The USA Men’s Senior National Team capped group play at the FINA World Championship at 2-1 with an 11-9 victory over Italy.
Nikola Vavic (Palos Verdes, CA/USC/Trojan) scored three goals in the win while McQuin Baron (North Tustin, CA/USC/Regency) recorded 11 saves in net in the win. Today’s match will air later today on Universal Sports at 8pm et/5pm pt.
Team USA takes second in Group B action and now moves on to meet Brazil on Sunday in the qualification round at 5:30pm local time. The match will stream live on UniversalSports.com at 10:30am et/7:30am pt.
Italy got off to a hot start in this match scoring with a little over a minute into the game for a 1-0 lead. Vavic responded for Team USA with a score and a 1-1 match. From there Italy pushed ahead with two straight goals from Alex Giorgetti for a 3-1 lead with 4:37 to play in the first. Team USA battled back scoring three of the next four goals to tie the match at 4-4 with just :19 to play in the first period. Bret Bonanni (Huntington Beach, CA/Stanford/Stanford), Tony Azevedo (Long Beach, CA/Stanford/NYAC), and Josh Samuels (Villa Park, CA/UCLA/NYAC) all came through in the run to even the score.
With 6:23 to go in the second period the United States took their first lead of the match on a Jackson Kimbell (Long Beach, CA/Stanford/Newport) goal in close on a dish from Azevedo. Italy tied the match moments later on a goal from Pietro Figlioli but Team USA answered with scores from Vavic and Alex Obert (Loomis, CA/Pacific/Sac Polo) to grab a 7-5 lead with 3:08 to play. Two minutes later Italy came back with another score leaving the United States ahead just a goal at 7-6 going into halftime.
Team USA began to pull away in the third as Bonanni and Azevedo scored the first two goals of the period to build a 9-6 lead with 3:20 to go in the period. Francesco Di Fulvio delivered one of his four goals on the night to make it 9-7 going to the fourth.
Stefano Luongo struck early in the fourth to again bring the game within a goal, this time at 9-8. Team USA warded off the rally with goals from Vavic and Alex Roelse (Maarssen, Netherlands/UCLA/Bruin) for an 11-8 lead with 1:24 to play in the match. A late goal from Italy didn’t factor in the decision and Team USA took the match 11-9.
The United States went 3/4 on the power play and did not attempt a penalty shot while Italy went 1/5 on power plays and 2/2 on penalty shots.
Scoring – Scoresheet
USA 11 (4, 3, 2, 2) N. Vavic 3. T. Azevedo 2, B. Bonanni 2, A. Obert 1, J. Kimbell 1, A. Roelse 1, J. Samuels 1
ITA 9 (4, 2, 1, 2) F. Di Fulvio 4, A. Giorgetti 2, P. Figlioli 1, S. Luongo 1, M. Aicardi 1
Saves – USA – M. Baron – 11 – ITA – S. Tempesti 9
6×5 – USA – 3/4 – ITA 1/5
Penalties – USA 0/0 – ITA 2/2
Swimming news courtesy of USA Water Polo