Nice, France – Italy defeated the USA, 11-10 in an exciting, closely contested water polo game to win the 2000 French Open title in Nice, France.
Two-time Olympic medalist Silipo started the scoring for Italy, but the USA came back in the first period on goals by Wolf Wigo (NY, NY), Chris Humbert (Lodi, CA) and Tony Azevedo (Long Beach, CA) to take a 3 -2 lead into the second frame.
Italy then scored three consecutive goals before Chris Humbert got open at two meters and fired a bullet past the Italian goalkeeper Italico just before the halftime.
Wigo's second goal tied the game, 5-5 on an outside shot and Brad
Schumacher's (Bowie, MD) power play goal gave the USA a 6-5 lead early in the
third period. After Italy scored, Jeremy Pope (Fresno, CA) put the USA back
on top 7-6. Italy scored again and then goals by Pope and Robert Lynn
(Irvine, CA) staked the USA to a 9-7 lead. Ghibillini and Postiglione scored
power play goals to tie the game before Sean Kern (Honolulu, HI), the 1999
NCAA player of the Year put the USA back on top once again, 10-9. Silipo's
second goal tied the game with 4:19 left in the game and Bencivenga scored
the winning goal at 1:08.
"We gave a lot of playing time tonight to players we haven't seen for a while
and to players fighting for sports on the Olympic team," said coach John
Vargas. "It was a well played game that could have gone either way and while
a win would have been nice, I'm satisfied with the effort of our players."
In the consolation game, Russia drubbed Australia 10 – 5.
Water Polo NOTES:
Playing in Europe since the beginning of the year have been Jeremy Pope
(Greece), Kyle Kopp (Greece), Chris Humbert (Greece), Gavin Arroyo (Orange,
CA ) (Spain) and Robert Lynn (France).
- MORE -
Vargas experimented using Kyle Kopp (Long Beach, CA), a 6'8" 240 lb.
offensive 2 meter star for the past eight years in the 2 meter defensive
position and was pleased with the results.
The team leaves Tuesday for Dubrovnik, Croatia for the four-team Croatian Cup
tournament. Joining the USA are Italy, Australia and host Croatia.
The Men's World Olympic Qualification Tournament begins May 6 in Hanover,
Germany. Teams vying for the 4 open slots in the Olympic Games include:
Greece, Russia, Slovenia, Slovakia, Brazil, Canada, Cuba, Romania,
Yugoslavia, Poland, Colombia, Netherlands, Germany and China. Hungary,
Australia, Croatia, Italy, Egypt, Kazakhstan, Spain and the USA have already
FRENCH OPEN RESULTS
1 2 3 4 F
USA 3 1 5 1 10
ITA 2 3 3 3 11
USA: Humbert 2, Wigo 2, Pope 2, Kern, Azevedo, Lynn, Schumacher
ITA: Bencivenga 3, Mongiante 2, Sottani 2, Silipo, Ghibellini, Postiglione,
Shots: USA 22, ITA 27
Saves: USA Hackett 10; ITA Italico 7
Power play: USA 5/7, ITA 6/10
Other Games: (3rd) RUS 10, AUS 5, (5th) GER 10, FRA 9, (7th) KAZ 12, CAN 4
FRENCH OPEN FINAL STANDINGS: