Water Polo Roundup: Russia Spanks US Men, 12-8; US Women, Men’s Youth Team Both Win

THE USA won victories in two of three European tournaments today, with the men's national team falling to Russia, the women's national team beating Australia in overtime, and the men's youth team romping over Egypt.

Russia Spanks USA 12-8
MOSCOW, July 13. THEY started the season on their heels, going 0-2 against 2000 gold medalist Hungary. But since then, Russia has won three of four, including two straight over the U.S. to move into second place in Group B of the FINA World League.

Today, Russia defeated the U.S. for the second night in a row, 12-8, at the Olympic Swimming Pool in Moscow.

Team USA managed the bulk of its offense in the first quarter, trading goals with Russia to a 5-5 tie. But the Russian defense posted blanks for the U.S. in the second and third quarters to take an 8-5 lead.

The U.S. finally regrouped for the fourth quarter. Goals by returning Olympians Wolf Wigo, Ryan Bailey, and Tony Azevedo helped narrow the margin, but Russia continued to pour it on, outlasting the U.S. for the 12-8 victory.

The U.S. was unable to make the most of its man-advantage opportunities. After going 4-for-5 on the man-up in the first quarter, the U.S. went 0-for-5 the rest of the way. Russia, meanwhile, found the net on six of its nine chances, and went 2-for-2 in the final quarter. On the season, Team USA is shooting 32% (26/69) on the advantage, while opponents are at a blustery 53% (32/60).

U.S. head coach Ratko Rudic attributes the loss to his team's lack of big-game experience.

"We still don't have the level of preparation to succeed in tough games," he said. "Psychologically we are not ready."

Left-handed driver Larry Felix saw the game as a night of missed opportunities.

"The Russians finished on their opportunities today and we did not," he said. "In the same situations, we turned the ball over or failed to execute."

The loss moves the U.S. into third place with a record of 2-4. Russia moves from third place into second, evening its mark at 3-3 at the season's halfway point. The U.S. will move on to Rijeka for next weekend's matches (July 16 & 17) against last-place Croatia (1-4). The U.S. split the home series with Croatia back on June 28 & 30. Team USA will then clash with
defending Olympic champion Hungary, first with a pair of games in Budapest at the end of this road swing (July 19 & 21), then back here in the U.S. on July 26 & 27.

Russia's Dimitri Stratan starred in a potent Russian offense, getting loose for five goals before the final horne crowd. Stratan was named by attending media as Russia's Player of the Game. Azevedo (3 goals) was named as the U.S. Player of the Game.

U.S. goalkeeper Genai Kerr knocked down 12 shots in goal.

Team USA 5 0 0 3 — 8
Russia 5 1 2 4 — 12

Individual Scoring
Team USA: Azevedo 3, Wigo 1, Segesman 1, Klatt 1, Bailey 1, Hudnut 1
Russia: Stratan 5, Eruschov 4, Tchomakhidze 1, Irishichev 1, Reketchinski 1

Man Advantage Scoring
Team USA: 4 for 10
Russia: 6 for 9

Goal Saves
Team USA: Kerr 12
Russia: Federov 10

Team USA Notebook:
–Tony Azevedo has proven to be the offensive staple, not only for the U.S., but for the league. In six games, the 20-year-old has buried league-best 18

–The U.S. has a pair of able keepers in goal. The platoon of Merrill Moses and Genai Kerr has accounted for a total of 63 saves so far. Moses has 34 stops (11.33 per game) to his credit, while Kerr has amassed 29 (9.67 per game). Both players have played in three games.

Notable Quotes:
Ratko Rudic (USA Head Coach)
"Last night we analyzed what was needed to win the game. We discussed one style of play-the style needed to win. Unfortunately, the players played a different style today."

"This game was important in that it showed us that we have to work on our psychological preparation and discover our positive traits and our negative

"The Russians didn't create many opportunities. We gave them to them. We had no tactical discipline."

US Women Take Overtime Win Over Aussies in Italy
ROME, July 13. THE U.S. women's water polo team defeated Australia, 6-5, to take home third place in the Italian International Women's Water Polo Tournament in Rome today.

Italy beat the Netherlands 10-6 in the championship game.

Heather Petri's game-winner in the second overtime period came with 1:47 left to play.

The U.S. trailed early, but led 3-2 at the half. The score was tied at 5-5 at the end of regulation, but Petri's bullet with 1:47 remaining in the second overtime frame pushed the U.S. past the reigning Olympic champions, 6-5.

Bernice Orwig was busy in the goal for the U.S, racking up 12 saves in the win, including one on a penalty shot.

Brenda Villa and Coralie Simmons each scored two goals apiece.

The U.S. lost to the Netherlands yesterday (July 12), 6-5, in semifinal play.

The U.S. has fared well in tournament play thus far in 2002, finishing third or better in each of its four major meets.

Tournament Location Finish
Holiday Cup Palo Alto, Calif. 1st
USA Cup Chicago, Ill. 3rd
Italian Int'l Tournament Rome, Italy 3rd
Russian Invitational Kirishi, Russia 3rd

Australia 2 0 2 1 0 0 — 5
Team USA 1 2 2 0 0 1 — 6

Goal Scorers:
Brenda Villa 2
Coralie Simmons 2
Catharine von Schwarz 1
Heather Petri 1

Player Advantage:
USA 3 for 8; 1 for 2 on penalty shots
Australia 1 for 3; 2 for 3 on penalty shots

Other Scores:
Championship Game
Italy 10, Netherlands 6

Fifth Place Game
Canada 8, Russia 7 (OT)

Seventh Place Game
Greece 7, Germany 2

US Men's Youth Team Trounces Egypt, 17-5
ISTANBUL, July 13. THE USA Men's Youth team finished the Ispolo Tournament in Istanbul with a perfect 5-0 record. The USA defeated Canada, 13-2, on Saturday, and Egypt, 17-5, on Sunday.

Against Canada, the USA scored the first two goals for the 4th consecutive game. The score was 3-1 at the end of the 1st period, and 6-2 at the half. Canada did not score again as the USA went on a 7-0 run in the final two quarters. Marty Matthies led the scorers with 3 goals, while Julian Arthur, Brian Snyder, Johnny Foster, and Matt Lee scored 2 apiece.

Although he did not score, Adi Jerkovic had an outstanding offensive game with 6 assists. Defensively, the team was led by defender Grant Miller who had 5 steals, and goalie Scott Syverson who contributed 3 saves and 2 steals.

USA goals: Marty Matthies 3, Johnny Foster 2, Matt Lee 2, Julian Arthur 2, Brian Snyder 2, Frank Reynolds 1, Tyler Kandel 1

USA saves: Scott Syverson 3

Today, the USA men's Youth team trounced Eygpt 17-5 in their last game of the Ispolo Youth Tourney in Istanbul.

The USA got on the scoreboard early and often taking a 6-2 lead at the end of the 1st. It was more of the same in the second and third periods as the USA led 9-2, and 13-3, respectively.

A game Egypt team fought back with two fourth period goals.

It was a balanced offensive effort as 10 different players scored, led by Julian Arthur and Brian Snyder who each tallied 3 goals. Arthur also earned 5 exclusions at his center forward position.

The USA scored on 9 of 11 man-advantage opportunities, while only giving up three major fouls.

Several players had outstanding all-around games including lefties Mike Garcia and Adi Jerkovic, who combined for 4 goals, 7 assists, and 5 steals. Scott Syverson had 6 saves in goal.

USA goals: Julian Arthur 3, Brian Snyder 3, Tom Corcoran 2, Mike Garcia 2, Adi Jerkovic 2, Grant Miller 2, Frank Reynolds 1, Johnny Foster 1, Matt Lee 1

USA saves: Scott Syverson 6

The USA Men's Youth Team faces a tough test next week as they travel to Acireale, Italy, to face Croatia, Hungary, Australia, and host Italy in the Five Nations Tournament, July 18-21.

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