USA Water Polo battle 3 game series with Italian National Team

The USA Men’s Senior National Team opened up their three game series with the Italian National Team battling to a 10-10 tie earlier today at Newport Harbor High School. Italy battled back from second half deficits of 8-4 and 10-7 to force the draw. John Mann (Newport Beach, CA/California/NYAC) and Bret Bonanni (Huntington Beach, CA/Stanford/Stanford) led the attack on offense scoring three goals each while McQuin Baron (North Tustin, CA/USC/Regency) went the distance in net. Stefano Luongo powered the Italians with a game-high five goals including three in the fourth quarter. The two teams will be back in action on Tuesday, December 30 at Pomona-Pitzer’s Haldeman Pool at 7pm. Tickets for that match will be available on-site, available to USAWP members for $20 and non-members for $25. The match will also stream live on GoLivePolo.com.

Mann opened the scoring to put Team USA ahead 1-0 and Alex Bowen (Santee, CA/Stanford/Stanford) followed later in the period to help the United States to a 2-1 lead after the first eight minutes. The offensive attack continued in the second period with Tony Azevedo (Long Beach, CA/Stanford/NYAC) and Bonanni finding the back of the cage for a 4-1 lead at halftime. Bowen scored his second of the day to open up the third period and Mann followed with another goal, sandwiched around an Italian goal, for a 6-2 lead. Despite two goals in the period from Italy’s Luongo, Team USA remained in front as Jesse Smith (Coronado, CA/Pepperdine/NYAC) closed the period with a goal to grab a 7-3 advantage.

Italy battled back in the fourth with Luongo finding the net yet again with 4:46 to play in the match, closing the deficit to 8-6. Mann answered for the United States moments later with his third goal for a 9-6 lead. Minutes later Bonanni scored for a seemingly safe 10-7 lead. Luongo capped his monster offensive day, scoring the final two goals of the match, the last coming with 11 seconds remaining to tie the match at 10-10 forcing the tie.

Scoring

USA 10 (2, 2, 3, 3) J. Mann 3, B. Bonanni 3, A. Bowen 2, T. Azevedo 1, J. Smith 1
ITA 10 (1, 0, 2, 7) S. Luongo 5, L. Bruni 2, N. Presciutti 1, F. Di Fulvio 1, F. Baraldi 1

Water Polo News courtesy of USA Water Polo.

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About Gold Medal Mel Stewart

Gold Medal Mel Stewart

MEL STEWART Jr., aka Gold Medal Mel, won three Olympic medals at the 1992 Olympic Games. Mel's best event was the 200 butterfly. He is a former World, American, and NCAA Record holder in the 200 butterfly. As a writer/producer and sports columnist, Mel has contributed to Yahoo Sports, Universal Sports, …

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