Courtesy: USA Water Polo
Gwangju, South Korea – The USA Men’s National Team bounced back from a loss to Croatia to hand Australia a 12-11 defeat tonight at the FINA World Championships. The victory secures Team USA of the second spot in Group B after they finished preliminary play with a 2-1 record.
Luca Cupido (Santa Margherita Ligure, Italy/California/Olympic Club) scored three goals including the game-winner with 1:17 left to lift Team USA over the Aussies. Alex Wolf (Huntington Beach, CA/UCLA/Bruin) made six saves in net in the win. Team USA now moves on to the crossover round where they will take on Greece on Sunday at 3:30pm local time/2:30am et/11:30pm pt (July 20). The match will air live on Olympic Channel and can be streamed by clicking here (cable ID requried).
Team USA got off to a strong start as Marko Vavic (Rancho Palos Verdes, CA/USC/Trojan) opened the scoring for a 1-0 lead. After Australia tied the match at 1-1, Team USA ran off three straight goals to build a 4-1 lead. Max Irving (Long Beach, CA/UCLA/NYAC), Alex Obert (Loomis, CA/Pacific/NYAC) and Hannes Daube (Long Beach, CA/USC/North Irving WPC) all took part in the scoring to take the three goal lead. Australia answered with two goals and it was a 4-3 match after one.
Things stayed even after that as played moved to the second. Australia tied the game at 5-5 before Team USA went in front by two on goals from Johnny Hooper (Los Angeles, CA/California/LA Premier) and Cupido for a 7-5 lead with 2:50 to play in the half. Australia scored a late goal to make it a one score match at halftime. Hooper pushed the lead back out to two in the third quarter but again Australia had answers bring the deficit back to one with play moving to the fourth.
In the final quarter Australia scored two of the first three goals to tie the match at 10-10 with 5:35 to play. Daube put the United States back in front but then Australia came back with the equalizer with 3:10 to play on an Aaron Younger strike. That set the stage for Cupido’s winner which was deflected into the cage off a shot block with time winding down in the match. Australia would fail to score over the final 1:17.
Team USA went 5/10 on power plays and 0/1 on penalties with Australia going 7/11 on power plays with no penalties attempted.
For more on the USA roster at the FINA World Championships, click here for the roster announcement. For more on broadcast coverage, click here.
Scoring – Stats
USA 12 (4, 3, 2, 3) L. Cupido 3, J. Hooper 2, A. Obert 2, H. Daube 2, M. Vavic 1, M. Irving 1, C. Ramirez 1
AUS 11 (3, 3, 2, 3) J. Kayes 2, A. Roach 2, L. Edwards 2, A. Younger 2, A. Ford 1, R. Howden 1, R. Campbell 1
Saves – USA – A. Wolf 6 AUS – J. Dennerly 18
6×5 – USA 5/10 – AUS 7/11
Penalties – USA – 0/1 – AUS – 0/0