U.S. Men’s Water Polo Drops Big Lead to Greece, Falls to Second in Group

UCLA Athletics - 2017 UCLA Men's Water Polo versus UC Santa Barbara Gauchos. Spieker Aquatic Center, Los Angeles, CA. September 15th, 2017 Copyright Don Liebig/ASUCLA 170915_MWP_0254.NEF
Max Irving; Photo Courtesy: Don Liebig

U.S. Men’s Water Polo Drops Big Lead to Greece, Falls to Second in Group

The U.S. men’s water polo team dropped 15-14 decision to Greece on Friday, sending the American to second place in their group at the World Championships in Fukuoka and to a crossover game to reach the quarterfinals.

The U.S. went 2-1 in three Group A matches. It will take on Canada, the third-place finisher in Group B, for one of eight quarterfinal spots. (The four group winners are already into the eight-team knockout round.) The U.S. game is 2 p.m. Fukuoka time, 1 a.m. on the East Coast.

The US. Had a chance to avoid that fate, running out to a 9-4 lead at halftime. But Greece outscored them 7-3 in the fourth quarter to roar back, a goal by Alexandros Papanastasiou with one second left giving the Greeks an unbeaten run through the group.

The U.S. led 13-10 with 4:50 left. But Papanastasiou tied the game at 13 with 1:56 to play. Max Irving got the U.S. back in front on a power-play goal 30 seconds later, but Efstathios Kalogeropoulos got the Greeks even again with 61 ticks left. Hannes Daube missed a direct foul shot to put the U.S. ahead, and with Luca Cupido excluded, Papanastasiou struck again to decide it.

Papanastasiou scored four goals, as did Konstantinos Genidounias. Stylianos Argyropoulos tallied a hat trick.

Irving was outstanding for the U.S. with six goals. Daube scored four times. Ben Hallock added a pair of goals. Adrian Weinberg made eight saves.

Greece joins Italy, Hungary and Spain in the final eight. Australia meets France, Croatia takes on Montenegro, and Japan and Serbia will battle for quarterfinal spots on Saturday.

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