Water Polo: Team USA Takes 4th Place At FINA World Cup

August 24 – The USA Men’s Senior National Team fell just short of the podium at the FINA World Cup, taking fourth place following an 8-6 loss to Croatia. Despite a late rally Team USA couldn’t overcome a 16 minute stretch spanning the second and third quarter where they managed only one goal. Alex Bowen (Santee, CA/Stanford/Stanford) led the offense with two goals while Merrill Moses (Palos Verdes, CA/Pepperdine/NYAC) recorded 10 saves in net. Bret Bonanni (Huntington Beach, CA/Stanford/Stanford) was named the tournament’s top scorer after finishing with 13 goals while teammate Jesse Smith (Coronado, CA/Pepperdine/NYAC) earned top defensive player honors. Team USA finishes the World Cup with a 3-3 record earning wins over South Africa, Montenegro, and Australia. To visit the official tournament website, click here.

Team USA got off to a great start with an opening goal from Nolan McConnell (Laguna Beach, CA/Long Beach St./SET) for a 1-0 lead. Croatia answered with a goal but Smith responded for a 2-1 USA lead with 2:13 left in the period. Croatia closed the period with a goal and the match was tied at 2-2 after the opening eight minutes. Croatia surged ahead in the second period outscoring Team USA 3-1 to build a 5-3 lead at halftime. They continued to pour it on in the third scoring two more unanswered goals for a 7-3 advantage going into the fourth period.

In the fourth the United States drew to within 8-5 on a Bowen goal with 3:53 to play in the match and had a chance to cut it down to two goals but Bonanni was blocked on a penalty shot attempt. Alex Obert (Loomis, CA/Pacific/Sac Polo) cashed in with a little over a minute to play to cut the deficit to 8-6 but the United States would get no closer.

Team USA went 4/11 on power plays while Croatia went 3/9. Bonanni and Smith were also named to the FINA World Cup All-Tournament Team along with John Mann (Newport Beach, CA/California/NYAC).

In the final results, Serbia beat Hungary 11-9 to take the gold medal. Australia doubled up Kazakhstan 12-6 for fifth place while Montenegro beat South Africa 13-10 for seventh place.

Team USA finished with a 3-3 record topping South Africa 19-1, Montenegro 11-7, and Australia 11-9 in a shootout. They lost to Serbia 11-9, Hungary 7-5, and Croatia 8-6. The best finish at the World Cup for Team USA remains gold medals in 1991 and 1997.

Scoring
USA 6 (2, 1, 0, 3) A. Bowen 2, N. McConnell 1, J. Smith 1, L. Cupido 1, A. Obert 1
CRO 8 (2, 3, 2, 1)
Saves – USA – M. Moses 10
6×5 – USA – 4/11 – CRO 3/9

Water Polo News / Swimming 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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