Almaty, Kazakhstan – The USA Men’s National Team fell to Croatia 11-10 in the semifinals of the FINA World League Super Final on Saturday.
Team USA will now meet Italy in the Bronze Medal match on Sunday.
Croatia rallied from a goal deficit at the half to claim the win, making great use of USA exclusions and penalties going 4/7 on power plays and 3/3 on penalty shots.
Jeff Powers (San Luis Obispo, CA/UC-Irvine/Newport WPF) and Adam Wright (Seal Beach, CA/UCLA/NYAC) each netted two scores in the loss.
The men’s national team is coached by longtime Santa Barbara resident Terry Schroeder. Former UCSB Gaucho Brian Alexander is also on the team preparing for the 2012 Olympics later this summer in London.
Team USA got off to the good start taking a 2-0 lead, only to see Croatia rally with scores of their own, three in all, in the first period. The United States kept up with the offensive pace and led 4-3 after the first period. In the second period each team scored three goals apiece and the United States stayed in front at halftime, up 7-6.
In the third, Croatia came back with two power play scores sandwiched around a goal from Wright, leaving the match tied at 8-8 after three. In the fourth Croatia put on an offensive show, specifically from Sandro Sukno who scored three goals in the period. Team USA answered with two goals of their own but it wouldn’t be enough. Croatia came away with the win 11-10.
Team USA was excellent on the power play, going 6/8 and they attempted no penalty shots.
The United States takes on Italy for the Bronze medal, a rematch of pool play where Italy was victorious 7-5. The Bronze Medal match will be streamed live via FINA TV at 1:50pm (12:50am pst) and can be accessed by clicking here.
CROATIA 11, USA 10
Croatia 3 3 2 3 – 11
USA 4 3 1 2 – 10
USA: Merrill Moses – Peter Varellas, Peter Hudnut, Jeff Powers 2, Adam Wright 2, Shea Buckner 1, Layne Beaubien 1, Tony Azevedo, Ryan Bailey 1, Tim Hutten 1, Jesse Smith 1, JW Krumpholz 1, John Mann. Head coach: Terry Schroeder.
CROATIA: Josip Pavic – Damir Buric, Miho Boskovic 2, Niksa Dobud, Maro Jokovic 3, Andelo Setka, Petar Muslim 1, Andro Buslje, Sandro Sukno 4, Samir Barac 1, Igor Hinic, Ivan Buljubasic, Frano Vican (GK). Head coach: Ratko Rudic.
USA: 6 for 8
Croatia: 4 for 7
Croatia: 3 for 3