LOS ALAMITOS, California. April 23. THE 7th Annual Premier League
Division I Championships came to an exhilarating end today after three
months and almost 100 games of elite water polo action. Los Angeles Water
Polo Club edged out Shore Aquatics in a Championship overtime shootout in
which L.A.'s Brandon Brooks earned his Outstanding Goalkeeper award with
three blocks to lead L.A. to victory, 12-10. New York Athletic Club, the
favorite going into the final tournament, defeated the Pacific Zone National
Team for third place, 12-9.
"It was New York's tournament to lose," said Men's National Team Head Coach
Ricardo Azevedo. "They picked a bad time for a bad game, but that is the
fantastic thing about Premier League, any team can win on any given day."
This proved true in the Championship game of the Premier League Division I
series. The final game began in front of a crowd of roaring fans out to
cheer on the two local teams- Long Beach Shore Aquatics and Los Angeles
Water Polo Club. The teams nearly mirrored one another in talent and the
score card proved it. Each team had nine ejections, twelve goalie saves and
numerous National Team Athletes and Olympians on their loaded rosters. In
quarter three, Ryan Bailey (Long Beach, Calif./UC Irvine/Shore Aquatics) and
Chris Segesman (Santa Barbara, Calif./CSULB 2002/Los Angeles WPC), two of
the most decorated athletes in the Premier League series were called on a
double ejection. If ever there was a "premier" match up, this was it. With
2:25 left on the clock, Bailey tied the score for the seventh time, 9-9,
sending the teams into a five-meter shootout. The two 2004 Olympic
goalkeepers swam to their facing cages and the crowd went silent. Jeff
Nesmith (Long Beach, Calif./Stanford 2003/Shore Aquatics) stepped up to the
penalty line for Shore, but Brandon Brooks (Honolulu, HA./UCLA/Los Angeles
WPC) denied the shot. Next, Kevin Witt (Glendale, Calif./LMU 2003/Los
Angeles WPC) skipped a shot past Shore's Genai Kerr (San Diego, Calif./UC
Irvine/Shore Aquatics), 10-9. Bailey was up next for Shore, but Brooks
smacked the ball down. At the other end Kerr got hold of Tamas Szego's (Los
Angeles, Calif./LMU/Los Angeles WPC) shot, denying the point to L.A.
Highschooler Matt Sagehorn (Long Beach, Calif./Long Beach Wilson HS/Shore
Aquatics) netted a clean corner shot past Brooks, 10-10, and Greg Krum
barely slipped the ball by Kerr, 11-10. It all came down to the next shot
and Brooks came through with the save, securing a Los Angeles victory,
11-10. Despite the L.A. lead, each team went through all five shooters,
revealing a final score of 12-10.
"I am beginning to like the five-meter shot," said Brooks, referring to the
new rule that changed penalty shots and overtime shootouts from the
four-meter line to the five. "It was a fantastic way to end the tournament."
Outstanding Youth: J.W. Krumpholz (Tustin, Calif./Foothill H.S./Los Angeles
Outstanding Goalkeeper: Brandon Brooks (Honolulu, HA./UCLA/Los Angeles WPC)
Outstanding Defender: Chris Segesman (Santa Barbara, Calif./CSULB 2002/Los
Outstanding Offensive Player: Ryan Bailey (Long Beach, Calif./UC
Premier League is a high-caliber water polo tournament series put on by the
Men's Water Polo National Team as a tool to allow Olympic Hopefuls, National
Team Athletes and Olympians to play together in order to improve the
National Team Program for the future.
For more information about the Premier League Championship tournament and
upcoming USA Water Polo events, please visit the EVENTS page of the USA
Water Polo website (www.usawaterpolo.org).
USA Water Polo, Inc. is a non-profit corporation organized for the purpose
to serve as the national governing body for the sport of water polo in the
United States under the auspices of the United States Olympic Committee