Dubrovnik, Croatia – Under the rules of the tournament, the USA need to win by six goals over Australia to have a chance of winning the Croatian Cup tournament. The team did what they needed to do with a 12-6 win over Australia. But the outcome wasn't entirely in their hands. They also needed Italy to beat Croatia. That game ended in a 7-7 draw and the USA ended up second to host Croatia.
"Except for our game against Croatia," said coach John Vargas, "the team
played very good water polo. Unfortunately that game cost us the tournament.
Consistency will be the key in Sydney and it is what we will be working on
Chris Oeding (Santa Ana, CA) put the USA on the board to give the USA the
early lead. After a goal by Neesham for Australia, Robert Lynn (Long Beach,
CA) and Wolf Wigo, (NYC, NY) gave the USA a 3-1 advantage after the first
Soros scored for Australia to start the second period, but goals by Jeremy
Pope (Fresno, CA), Tony Azevedo (Long Beach, CA) and Sean Kern (Honolulu, HI)
stretched the USA's lead to 6-2 at the halftime.
Australia narrowed the gap to 6-4 on goals by Owen-Jones and Woods before
Kyle Kopp (Long Beach, CA) scored a power play goal to give the USA a 7-4
advantage. Boyd brought the Aussies to win 7-5, but after that it was all
In a seesaw first half, Croatia started the scoring but Wolf Wigo (NYC, NY)
matched and matched again to leave the first quarter tied at 2. After
Croatia scored in the second period, Robert Lynn (Long Beach, CA) scored to
tie it at 3, but that was as close as the USA would get as Croatia went on a
five-goal tear in the second and third periods to put the game out of reach.
Dan Hackett (Irvine, CA) continued to play spectacularly in the goal, not
only blocking shots but coming out of the goal to steal the ball.
Team USA returns to California on Monday. Next up is the US Cup, June
27-July 2, in Los Alamitos, CA. The Cup will feature the Olympic teams from
Australia, Croatia, Italy, Yugoslavia and the USA (and a sixth team still to
Croatian Cup RESULTS (Day 3)
1 2 3 4 F
USA 3 3 2 4 12
AUS 1 1 3 1 6
USA: Lynn 3, Wigo 2 Humbert 2, Pope, Kopp, Oeding, Schumacher, Azevedo, Kern
AUS: Fatovic 4, Hinic, Barac, Ivanis, Smodlaka, Krzic
Saves: USA Hackett 7; AUS Lasic 8
Power play: USA 4/6 + 2/2 Penalty, CRO 4/8
Other Games: CRO 7, ITA 7