Almaty, Kazakhstan – The USA Water Polo Men’s National Team took fourth place at the FINA World League Super Final following a 7-6 loss to Italy.
Peter Varellas (Moraga, CA/Stanford/Olympic Club) scored three goals in the loss while Merrill Moses (Palos Verdes, CA/Pepperdine/NYAC) went the distance in net stopping 11 shots.
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.
The action was close early on as the match was tied at 1-1 after the first period. In the second Italy surged ahead taking a 4-1 lead before the United States chipped away to close within 4-3 at halftime. Team USA opened the third on the offensive end, tying the match with a goal from Varellas to draw even at 4-4. Italy would answer right back with two straight goals to take a 6-4 lead after the third.
In the final period, Team USA scored first to make it 6-5 but Italy followed with a score to grab a 7-5 advantage. The red, white, and blue would try to rally, scoring again with time winding down to get the score to 7-6, but would get no closer. Italy came away with the Bronze Medal.
Team USA went 3/10 on power plays and 1/1 on penalties while Italy was 4/6 on power plays and 1/1 on penalties. “We played well enough to win,” said USA Head Coach Terry Schroeder. “Putting away the 6 on 5 is vital and the mark of where we are as a team. We have five weeks to fix it.”
ITALY 7, USA 6
Italy 1 3 2 1 – 7
USA 1 2 1 2 – 6
USA: Merrill Moses – Peter Varellas 3, Peter Hudnut, Jeff Powers, Adam Wright, Shea Buckner, Layne Beaubien, Tony Azevedo 1, Ryan Bailey, Tim Hutten, Jesse Smith 2, JW Krumpholz, John Mann. Head coach: Terry Schroeder.
ITALY: Stefano Tempesti – Amaurys Perez, Valerio Rizzo 1, Pietro Figlioli 2, Alex Giorgetti 2, Maurizio Felugo 1, Niccolo Figari, Valentino Gallo, Christian Presciutti 1, Tamas Marcz, Daniel Premus, Arnaldo Deserti. Head coach: Alessandro Campagna.
USA: 3 for 10
Italy: 4 for 6
USA: 1 for 1
Italy: 1 for 1