Almaty, Kazakhstan – The USA Water Polo Men’s National Team advanced to the semifinals of the FINA World League Super Final with a 7-5 win over Australia on Friday in Kazakhstan.
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.
Peter Varellas (Moraga, CA/Stanford/Olympic Club) led the attack with three goals.
Team USA will meet Croatia in the semifinal round, a rematch from two weeks ago that saw USA victorious 9-5 in Pasadena, CA. The match will be streamed live through FINA TV at 4:50pm local time (3:50am pst) and can be viewed by clicking here.
In the win over Australia, the United States got off to a great start opening up a 3-1 lead after the first period and leading 5-1 at halftime. Despite a rainstorm that hit the pool in the second period, play continued on. In the third the Aussies battled back holding the Americans scoreless while adding a goal of their own to make it 5-2.
In the fourth Australia nearly completed the comeback scoring back to back goals at one point to draw to within 6-5. A tying goal from Australia was disallowed and moments later Team USA would seal the match with their seventh goal to take the contest 7-5.
Team USA went 5/12 on power plays while Australia was 2/8, neither team attempted a penalty shot.
“It was a much better game overall,” Schroeder said. “That said we have to do a better job on our six on five, we did do a better job today on the defensive end.”
Notes: Team USA and Croatia met twice in Southern California two weeks ago. In the first match at Newport Harbor High School on May 26, Croatia was victorious 8-7. The United States won days later on June 1 at the Rose Bowl Aquatics Center in Pasadena, CA by a score of 9-5. Team USA last won a medal at the FINA World League Super Final in 2008 when they took Silver.
FINA WORLD LEAGUE QUARTERFINAL: USA 7, AUSTRALIA 5
USA 3 2 0 2 – 7
AUS 1 0 1 3 – 5
USA: Merrill Moses – Peter Varellas 3, Peter Hudnut, Jeff Powers 2, Adam Wright, Shea Buckner 2, Layne Beaubien, Tony Azevedo, Ryan Bailey, Tim Hutten, Jesse Smith, JW Krumpholz, John Mann. Head coach: Terry Schroeder.
AUSTRALIA: Joel Dennerley – Richard Campbell 1, Timothy Cleland 1, John Cotterill 1, Robert Maitland, Anthony Martin, Aidan Roach 1, Samuel McGregor, Thomas Whalan, Gavin Woods, Jamie Beadsworth 1, William Miller, Aaron Younger. Head coach: John Fox.
USA: 5 for 12
Australia: 2 for 8