The USA Men’s Senior National Team and Italy met last night at Pomona-Pitzer’s Haldeman Pool and two days after battling to a 10-10 draw, it was Team USA pulling out an 11-10 victory. For the second straight game the United States built a lead in the fourth quarter only to have Italy rally. After Team USA went ahead 10-7, Italy battled back to within a goal at 11-10, but the United States was able to hold off the final Italian charge. Alex Obert (Loomis, CA/Pacific/Sac Polo) and Josh Samuels (Villa Park, CA/UCLA/NYAC) led the USA attack with three goals each while Italy’s Stefano Luongo scored three goals in the loss. The two teams will meet this Saturday at USC’s Uytengsu Aquatic Center at 2pm to close out the series. Tickets will be available on-site and can also be purchased online by clicking here. Tickets are priced at $20 for USAWP members and $25 for non-members.
Janson Wigo (Ft. Lauderdale, FL/Stanford/Olympic Club) got the scoring started for Team USA to grab a 1-0 lead in the first quarter. Italy quickly answered with a goal and then went ahead 2-1 on two straight from Luongo. Luca Cupido (Newport Beach, CA/California/Newport Beach) countered with a goal to even things at 2-2 it what was a back and forth game throughout. Samuels added his first goal of the day to close out the first quarter with Team USA ahead 3-2.
Obert opened up the second period with a power play strike and a 4-2 advantage only to have Italy score two straight to tie the game at 4-4. Much like the first quarter, Samuels would have the last word in the period putting Team USA ahead 5-4 going into halftime. Italy scored two of the next three goals to start the third period, tying the game at 6-6 only to see Samuels once again score the final goal of a period, giving the United States a 7-6 lead after three periods.
In the fourth it looked as if the United States would pull away, scoring three of the first four goals in the period, the last coming from Wigo to take a 10-7 lead. Italy battled back with two straight goals to draw within 10-9 but Obert fired in his third of the day with less than 90 seconds to play to build an 11-9 lead. Luongo found the back of the net with 44 seconds left but Italy would get no closer and Team USA would pick up the one goal victory.
USA 11 (3, 2, 2, 4) A. Obert 3, J. Samuels 3, J. Wigo 2, L. Cupido 2, T. Azevedo 1
ITA 10 (2, 2, 2, 4). S. Luongo 3, F. Di Fulvio 2, A. Nora 2, A. Velotto 1, A. Fondelli 1, F. Coppoli 1
Water Polo News courtesy of USA Water Polo.