U.S. Men’s Water Polo Holds Off France, 11-6, at FINA World League Semifinals

LOS ALAMITOS, Calif., July 22. TEAM USA rallied in the second quarter with 10 unanswered goals against the French to secured an 11-6 triumph at the FINA World League Semifinals in Los Alamitos, Calif., on Friday. Meanwhile, Canada defeated Brazil, 13-8, while Australia downed China, 12-4.

"We came out slow today,” Team USA head coach Ricardo Azevedo said. “We missed some clear opportunities in the first three or four minutes. I thought that we were rushing today. We were playing a little bit too wild. I didn't think we were playing our game. Our game is great defense and counter attacking. I thought we were putting up shots too soon and not passing the ball around enough. I just didn't think it was there. The second quarter, we played our game. And at the point the game was over.”

The game began even, goal for goal, until Adam Wright launched the ball on a power play to end the first quarter up by one, 3-2. Jeff Powers had a powerful first quarter with a steal followed by a clean shot as he edged toward center-cage from the wing on a power play, 6-2. Spencer Dornin slid in a final goal as the buzzer sounded, ending the first half, 7-2. Peter Varellas scored next for Team USA with an exclusion goal early in the second half, 9-2. Wright gave the U.S. a seven-goal streak, earning a hat trick, 10-2. Rick Merlo upped the streak to eight goals, 10-2, at 3:24 in the third. France’s Frederic Audon pulled away on a counter and lobbed the ball in to score their first goal since the first quarter, 11-3. To end the game, France pulled through with four-goals, but could not catch the U.S.

“Tony (Azevedo) is like a coach in the water out there,” Team USA player Peter Varellas said. “He knows so much about the sport and I am able to draw on his experience on the international level and use that to accelerate my own development. It’s great to get back into a flow with them.’’

The water polo action will continue July 22 with games between Australia and Canada (3:30 p.m.), France and China (5 p.m.) and USA and Brazil (6:30 p.m.).

USA – 3 4 4 0 – 11
FRA – 2 0 1 3 – 6

USA – P. Varellas 1, J. Powers 3, A. Wright 3, T. Azevedo 2, R. Merlo 1, S. Dornin 1
FRA – F. Audon 4, T. Simon 1, Q. Chipotel 1

USA – M. Moses 5
FRA – B. Bry 4, R. Garsua 2

USA – 7 of 9
FRA – 1 of 4

DELEGATE: Gianni Lonzi, Bill Frady
REFEREES: Patelli, Ni

CAN – 3 3 3 4 – 13
BRA – 1 2 5 0 – 8

CAN – K. Mitchell 1, K. Graham 1, T. Marks 2, B. Jung 2, D. Stein 3, A. Feltham 1, N. Miller 3
BRA – F. Chidiquimo 1, R. Seabra 1, M. Santos 1, L, Machado 1, F. Franco 3, F. Silva 1

CAN – R. Randall 6
BRA – A. Cordeiro 8

CAN – 4 of 12
BRA – 4 of 12, 1 of 1 (penalty)

DELEGATE: Gianni Lonzi, Bill Frady
REFEREES: Hart, Koganov

AUS – 2 4 3 3 – 12
CHN – 2 0 1 1 – 4

AUS – D. Marsden 2, T. Franklin 2, T. Whalan 3, R. Maitland 2, R. Moody 1, L. Gavin 2
CHN – L. Yu 3, J. Xie 1

AUS – L. Trettel 9
CHN – W. Ge 6

AUS – 6 of 9, 1 of 1 (penalty)
CHN – 0 of 2, 1 of 2 (penalty)

DELEGATE: Gianni Lonzi, Bill Frady
REFEREES: Corb, Valouche

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