The U.S men’s water polo team fell behind by three goals in the first period and never recovered in an 11-6 loss to Serbia in group play at the London Olympics on Saturday.
It was the first loss of the tournament for the Americans, who already clinched a berth in the quarterfinals.
Serbia scored three goals before Tony Azevedo put the U.S. on the board. Zivko Gocic hit from distance for a 4-1 Serbia lead with just :16 to play in the quarter.
“We didn’t start too strong and we gave up a couple of goals,” Team USA coach and San Marcos High alum Terry Schroeder said. “We tried to fight ourselves back into the game, but Serbia is a tough team and I think they are the best here. I hope we will have another shot to play with them.”
The Americans struggled on power plays, converting on only two of eight opportunities. They also missed a penalty shot. Serbia scored on four of nine 6-on-5 situations.
“It didn’t go well at all, but we’re still in a good position,” said Azevedo. “This is a good learning experience for us. We’ve definitely got to pick up our game, as we’re not going to win a crossover (quarterfinal) like we played today.”
U.S. goalie Merrill Moses, who made 12 saves, said the team is not panicking after the loss.
“It means that we need to focus on our mistakes and work on them for our next match against Hungary (on Monday),” he said. “I think that whoever wins gold at these Olympics will lose one or two games. We can play better, for sure, but it’s all about the quarterfinals and that’s where the results really matter. We will play a good team, but we will be ready.”
In women’s water polo, Santa Barbara High alum Kami Craig and the U.S. women play Italy in a quarterfinal game on Sunday. NBC will broadcast the game at 2 p.m.
BRYAN BROTHERS WIN TENNIS GOLD
Bob and Mike Bryan won the gold medal in men’s doubles by defeating France’s Michael Llodra and Joe-Wilfried Tsonga, 6-4, 7-6 (2), at Wimbledon.
The Bryan twins are the sons of former UCSB star Wayne Bryan.
The gold medal fulfilled a goal the brothers had been shooting for since earning a bronze medal at the Beijing Olympics in 2008. They can add the Olympic title to their list of major championships: Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, U.S. Open and Davis Cup.