GENOVA, Italy, June 21. THE USA Men's Senior National is now just one win away from Gold at the 2008 FINA World League Super Final after an 11-10 shootout victory over Australia in the semi-final on Saturday. Team USA was able to pull out the victory after losing an early 5-2 lead. Brian Alexander's make on the fourth round in the shootout proved to be the difference maker as both teams had made their first three attempts and Australia would go on to miss their last two.
Things got started early for Team USA as Ryan Bailey scored the game's first goal out of the center spot with a power move to build a 1-0 lead. Peter Varellas then connected on a man-up opportunity to build a 2-0 lead for USA. Australia answered late in the quarter and it was 2-1 headed to the second. In the second quarter Bailey again wheeled inside to score and the goals kept on coming as Tony Azevedo and Varellas found the net leaving USA up 5-2 at halftime.
Coming out to start the second half Australia was back on their game scoring three unanswered goals and just like that the game was tied at 5-5 with play going to the fourth. In the fourth quarter each team exchanged goals ending at a 7-7 tie after regulation. In the shootout each team connected on their first three chances. On the fourth try Alexander came through with a score while Australia was off the mark. On the fifth attempt each team failed and USA came away the victors.
Team USA now meets Serbia for in the championship game. This is the first appearance for Team USA in the FINA World League Super Final title game. Brandon Brooks recorded 11 saves in net for the team while USA went 4-9 on man up scenarios.
Special thanks to USA Water Polo for contributing this report.