USA Water Polo Men’s National Team and Serbia Battle To 8-8 Draw

BERKELEY, California, June 7. THE USA Men's Senior National Team rallied for two goals in the fourth quarter to force an 8-8 draw with Serbia in an exhibition match held at the Spieker Aquatics Complex on the campus of the University of California-Berkeley. After two games of the three game series Team USA is 0-1-1 against visiting Serbia.

Team USA rebounded from a 10-7 loss on Thursday evening in Stockton, California with a solid performance in this contest. They got started early when Ryan Bailey found the net out in front following a Serbia exclusion. The 1-0 advantage was short lived as following a USA exclusion, Filip Filipovic scored for Serbia and it was 1-1. The two teams would exchange scores throughout the first half as Andrija Prlainovic scored for a 2-1 lead only to be answered by Team USA and JW Krumpholz to tie the game at 2-2. Another USA exclusion gave Petar Filipovic an opportunity and he took the lead back for Serbia at 3-2. Under a minute later at the 1:32 mark in the first Jeff Powers used an exclusion to his advantage scoring to tie the game at 3-3.

The second quarter began with Serbia striking first as Filip Filipovic lobbed a shot past the US keeper, Merrill Moses, to give Serbia a 4-3 advantage. At the 3:36 mark Krumpholz got Team USA on the board again after using a pretty reverse spin down low to put the ball away for a tie game at 4-4. Serbia then tried to create some distance. After a five meter penalty was called on the United States, Stefan Mitrovic cashed in on the penalty attempt for a 5-4 lead. Moments later and Filip Filipovic scored another of his three goals on the day to take a 6-4 lead headed into halftime.

Coming out of the intermission it was more Filipovic as Filip found the net for a three goal lead at 7-4. Undaunted Team USA looked to chip away with Peter Varellas burying a shot on the man advantage to close within 7-5. A bit of a scoring drought would ensue over the next three minutes until at the 1:57 mark Prlainovic picked up the ball on a restart and buried the shot for another three goal lead at 8-5. The Red, White, and, Blue would never let Serbia get further away than that as JP MacDonnell hit for a clutch goal on a 6×5 advantage with just four seconds remaining in the period, to make things 8-6 in favor of the visitors.

Into the fourth quarter and the defenses for both teams took it up a notch. Moses, who would go on for seven saves on the evening pitched a shutout in the period. It was now up to the USA offense and they answered at the 3:21 mark when Krumpholz stepped out from near six meters to bury a long shot, his third for the game, and they closed within a goal at 8-7. The USA was able to come all the way back when with 2:01 remaining Varellas scored the second of his two goals on the game to tie the score at 8-8 and ignite the crowd at Spieker.

Each team would have opportunities to take the go-ahead goal including a foiled man advantage for the United States, but as the final horn sounded the teams agreed on a draw. Team USA improved on their 6×5 game from Thursday evening going 4-15 while Serbia was 2-7.

The two teams meet for the third and final time in this exhibition series tomorrow at Stanford University at 2pm. Tickets will be for sale at the door of the Avery Aquatics Center.

USA 8 (3, 1, 2, 2) J. Krumpholz 3, P. Varellas 2, J. MacDonnell 1, J. Powers 1, R. Bailey 1
SRB 8 (3, 3, 2, 0) F. Filipovic 3, P. Filipovic 2, A. Prlainovic 2, S. Mitrovic 1

Saves: USA – M. Moses 7 — SRB – S. Soro 2, G. Pijetlovic 6

6×5 – USA – 4/15 — SRB – 2-7
Penalties – USA – 0/0 — SRB – 1/1

Quote – "I thought we played a little more defense today and now we are kind of getting used to playing again at this level with all of us playing together again. We are still missing a few guys but we are trying to get a little more of a rhythm, but we still have things to do and there is still work to be done." – Peter Varellas – Team USA

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