Slovakia Crushes US Men's Cadet Water Polo Team -- August 29, 2002
OBREVOVAC, Yugoslavia, August 28. THE USA boys Cadet Team ran into a Slovakian wall named Marek Bakusa, the young goalkeeper for the Slovakian National Cadet Team and lost, 5-1. Bakusa blocked a total of 17 shots, including three one on ones and held the USA to zero for twelve in the powerplay.
Slovakia jumped out to an early 3-0 lead on a pair of goals from Stefan Patan and another by Daniel Lipay before the end of the first quarter. In the second period, the USA peppered Bakusa without result. Andre Janech's goal made it 4-0 in the third as Bakusa turned away more USA opportunities.
Nico Saldo picked up a rebound after a Bakusa block and scored from in front of the cage at 5:45 of the fourth quarter for the USA's lone goal. Stanislav Vano closed out the scoring for Slovakia at 2:28 for the 5-1 win. The USA finishes preliminary round play against Hungary on Thursday.
Security is tight around the pool as the town of Obrenovac is home to relatives of several defendants in the docket charged with war crimes. The local officials aren't concerned for the U.S. players, but
don't want any incidents involving the Croatians. The security patrols are only a precaution and the U.S. and Croatian squads have been cheered here, as opposed to the reactions that greeted the men's senior team in Belgrade during the FINA World Cup last week.
All the teams are staying in a hotel adjacent to the competition pool. The swimming complex consists of an outdoor 50-meter pool and an indoor 50-meter pool which seem strangly out of place in the agrarian community.
So far, the tournament has been a great experience for the US team and the Yugoslavian organizers have been wonderful hosts. It has also been a wake up call for the U.S. players who are All-Star players back home. The Europeans are big, fast and fundamentally sound and all recognize that if they want to compete internationally in the future there is much work ahead of them.
By the Numbers:
Drac Wigo had 5 steals
Chuck Wright drew 3 exclusions
Nico Sardo drew 3 exclusions
Chay Tatman had 9 blocks in 3 quarters
Mark Stemler had 3 blocks in 1 quarter
USA 0 0 0 1 -- 1
SLO 3 0 1 1 -- 5
USA 0 for 12
SLO 0 for 2
Greece 13 Russia 5
Croatia 17 Turkey 0
Yugoslavia 12 Hungary 4