World Championships: Alex Bowen Scores Six Goals, But U.S. Drops Shootout to Montenegro

Croatian goalie Marko Bijac makes a save Monday against Australia at the Doha World Championships; Photo Courtesy: Giorgio Scala / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto

World Championships: Alex Bowen Scores Six Goals, But U.S. Drops Shootout to Montenegro

Alex Bowen fired home six goals as the United States rallied to force the shootout in its 2024 World Aquatics Championships opener with Montenegro before falling, 16-15, on Monday.

The U.S. trailed by two entering the final quarter, but goals by Bowen and Ryder Dodd knotted the score at 10. Montenegro twice went ahead in the fourth, but Dodd, then Bowen with 61 seconds left tied the game.

Montenegro spurned two chances to go ahead in the final minute, and the U.S. turned the ball over on its only possession.

It took seven rounds to resolve the shootout. Bowen and Aleksa Ukropina missed in the first round, though both hit in the sixth round. Stefan Vidovic put Montenegro head in the seventh, and goalie Petar Tesanovich (12 saves) denied Max Irving, who had scored earlier in the shootout, to decide it.

Ben Hallock and Hannes Daube joined Dodd with two goals each. Drew Holland made 10 saves in goal.

Ukropina led the Montenegrins with a hat trick. Vidovic was one of five players with two goals each.

The Montenegro win avenges the loss it suffered to the U.S. in the seventh-place game of last summer’s Worlds in Fukuoka.

Elsewhere on a relatively sedate first day, Hungary began its title defense by handling Romania, 15-8. The Hungarians scored 10 times in the first half to take control. Gergo Zalanki and Marton Vamos scored three times each.

Greece handled China, 24-6, in its bid to back last summer’s silver medal. The Greeks shot 24-for-36, led by a 5-for-5 day from Konstantinos Genidounias. Four others added hat tricks, and Emmanouil Zerdevas made 12 saves.

Croatia beat Australia, 13-8, coasting after taking a 9-3 lead into half. Marko Bijac stopped 10 shots. Luka Loncar scored on both of his shots, one of six Croatians with two goals each.

Serbia led Japan by just one at half before a second-half eruption for a 17-10 victory. Sava Randjelovic scored both of his goals to build a 5-1 third-quarter margin and create separation. Nikola Jaksic scored four times. Dusan Mandic and Strahinja Rasovic tallied three goals each.

France needed six goals from Thomas Vernoux to survive a 16-11 scare from Brazil. Ugo Crousillat added four markers. Rafael Real scored five times for Brazil.

Spain had no difficulty with South Africa in a 21-5 win powered by four goals each from Unai Biel and Alvaro Granados. Ditto Italy in a 33-3 defeat of Kazakhstan that saw Andrea Fondelli and Giacomo Cannella net seven goals apiece.

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