July 4. THE US men's and women's water polo team had mixed results in Independence Day action, the men dropping a close match to Russia, 6-5, while the women tied Canada, 2-2.
Russian Men Drop the US, 6-5
LOS ALAMITOS, Calif., July 4. THE spectators turned out in waves on Thursday at the USA Water Polo National Aquatic Center, but the U.S. was unable to turn in a victory against the visiting Russians. In a white-watered, physical contest, the Russians held on for a 6-5 win, their first of the season.
Team USA got on the board first with a goal by defender Layne Beaubien, who has notched the first U.S. goal in two of the first three games. Russia then went on a 3-0 run, thanks in part to a pair of consecutive scores by Irek Zinnourov. An extra man goal by Tony Azevedo with 3:35 on the clock halted the streak and Jesse Smith went inside to Chris Segesman, who netted a turnaround with 36 seconds left to tie the score at 3-3.
The second quarter was fairly dormant offensively, with each team managing just one score. Russia took a 4-3 lead behind Dmitri Stratan's score with 3:30 to play. Azevedo connected with his second score, again on a man-advantage, with 2:43 to knot the count at 4-4.
Russia went ahead again at 5-4 late in the third quarter, when Revaz Tchomakhidze went through U.S. goalkeeper Genai Kerr at the 2:29 mark. The U.S. leveled the score at 5-5 when Jeff Powers went high left past Nikolay Maximov with 1:56 to go. This,
however, would be the final score for the Stars and Stripers.
With 6:53 to play in the game, Stratan fired a shot goalward that was tipped by a field player and Kerr before settling in the net to give Russia a 6-5 lead.
Russia tried to bury an insurance goal, but a save by Kerr with 54 seconds to play gave the U.S. fresh life. After a timeout, the U.S. wore the game clock down to 18 seconds. Wolf Wigo's spinning lob shot, however, was pulled down by Maximov, who made five of his 11 saves in the final quarter of play.
Russia held the ball and ran the remainder of the time off the clock to secure the 6-5 win before a crowd of 1640.
But the story may well have been in the calls that weren't made. Only 11 exclusions were called in the game. In Team USA's first two games with Croatia, a combined 68 ejections were whistled, an average of 32 per contest.
Both Russia and the U.S. go to 1-2 in league play.
The two teams will meet again in the U.S. series finale on Saturday (July 6) at 7:00 p.m.
U.S. driver Tony Azevedo and Croatia goalkeeper Nikolay Maximov were voted by attending media as the Players of the Game.
Team USA 3 1 1 0 — 5
Russia 3 1 1 1 — 6
Team USA: Azevedo 2, Powers 1, Segesman 1, Beaubien 1
Russia: Stratan 2, Zinnourov 2, Tchomakidze 1, Denisov 1
Man Advantage Scoring
Team USA: 4 for 9
Russia: 2 for 2
Team USA: Kerr 9
Russia: Maximov 2
Ratko Rudic (USA Head Coach)
"We didn't get as many of the exclusions as we felt we had earned. There were many calls that were not made. When we work so hard to create advantages and they don't blow the whistle, there's not much we can do. We will come out and play the same type of game on Saturday, hopefully with a different result."
"We played good defense, but we just couldn't make the most out of our offensive opportunities."
Tony Azevedo (USA Driver)
"We are all totally drained after that game. They played a very physical match, but it was a fantastic learning experience."
"When they're not giving you anything at set, and they're not giving you anything from outside, you do what you can: you drive. But we couldn't really get things going."
Alexandre Kabanov (Russian Head Coach)
"Playing nine-minute quarters is much more challenging, both physically and mentally. And the 10-minute halftime is tough to get used to because it takes the players out of their rhythm. It will take some getting used to."
"The win was only our first, yes. But on Saturday, we will have our second."
US, Canadian Women Tie 2-2 in Hioliday Cup Opener
PALO ALTO, Calif., July 4. THE United States and Canada dueled to a 2-2 tie in their 2002 Holiday Cup opener Thursday.
Coralie Simmons put the USA ahead 1-0 with one minute remaining in the first quarter and Heather Petri added to the lead early in the second period. Melissa Collins put Canada on the board midway through the second quarter with a goal from 10 meters out. After the United States narrowly missed two fast break opportunities early in the third quarter, Canada evened
the score 2-2 on a goal by Ann Dow. Neither team found the net in the final quarter resulting in the 2-2 tie.
Friday, July 5 7:00 p.m. Japan vs Canada
Friday, July 5 8:00 p.m. USA vs Brazil
Saturday, July 6 7:00 p.m. Canada vs Brazil
Saturday, July 6 8:00 p.m. USA vs Japan
Sunday, July 7 6:00 p.m. 3rd place game
Sunday, July 7 7:00 p.m. Championship
ALL TIMES PACIFIC STANDARD TIME
USA 1 1 0 0 — 2
Canada 0 1 1 0 — 2
USA: Simmons, Petri
Canada: Collins, Dow
Player Advantage Scoring
In other day one action:
Japan 1 3 2 2 — 8
Brazil 0 0 2 0 — 2
Game wrap up
Japan: Kakoshi 2, Mizuta 2, Koiso, M. Tanaka, Yasumi, Sawamuri
Brazil: Bertolucci, C. Roriz
Standings After Day One
Team Games Win Loss Tie G + G – G.D. Pts.
Japan 1 1 0 0 8 2 +6 2
USA 1 0 0 1 2 2 0 1
Canada 1 0 0 1 2 2 0 1
Brazil 1 0 1 0 2 8 -6 0