Worlds Water Polo: Hannes Daube Scores 7 Goals as U.S. Reaches Quarters

Hannes Daube Hayne-usa-water-polo
Hannes Daube; Photo Courtesy: USA Water Polo

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Worlds Water Polo: Hannes Daube Scores 7 Goals as U.S. Reaches Quarters

Hannes Daube was magnificent Sunday for the United States, scoring seven goals to power a 13-10 win over Canada in the crossover round at the World Aquatics Championships.

Daube was 7-for-8 shooting at the Marine Messe Hall in Fukuoka, Japan. That included four penalty conversions to break down a sturdy Canada defense. The win moves the U.S., which finished second in Group A, into the quarterfinals against Group C champ Hungary. Canada, third in Group B, heads to placement games.

The U.S. dropped into crossover play after falling to Greece in its final group game Friday, a 15-14 decision in which it led in the fourth quarter. So when Canada got within 10-8 with 4:20 to play Sunday and then 11-9 with 2:12 remaining, the U.S. drew on lessons of the past.

“It was a tough game against Greece, but when it comes down to it, we just want to focus on ourselves,” Daube said. “We know that we’re in control of everything. It’s just our own mistakes that give games away or cause missed opportunities. We always feel like we’re in control and can continue doing great things when we’re thinking about ourselves.”

Daube didn’t give the Canadians any room to get back into the game. His penalty goal with 5:45 left gave the U.S. a 10-6 lead, and he stamped out any hope of a Canada comeback when he buried another penalty with 1:52 left to make it 12-9. Johnny Hooper added two goals, and Adrian Weinberg made five saves in net.

The U.S. had to play most of the second half without Alex Bowen, whistled for his third exclusion foul 82 seconds into the third quarter.

“We just tried to stay positive,” Daube said. “We know that when one guy goes out, another guy steps up. We’re prepared mentally for those things. It can be anyone on our team and we’re going to continue to keep going.”

The American defense applied constant pressure on Nicolas Constantin-Bicari, who scored four goals but needed nine shots to get there and ended up committing three exclusion fouls. Aleksa Gardijan scored twice for Canada.

Brody McKnight was excellent in goal with eight saves. Gardijan had a team-high four blocks, among seven deflections for Canada in frustrating the U.S. for stretches.

Matt Halajian tied the game at five for Canada late in the first half before Daube scored a 5-meter goal to put the U.S. up 6-5 at the break. Daube doubled the lead with a sumptuous lob early in the second half, and Ryder Dodd did the same to make it 8-6 a few minutes later.

Max Irving fed Hooper, who won all four swimoffs, with an outstanding skip pass on the first possession of the fourth to make it 9-6. Jeremie Cote got the game to within 10-8, then Gardijan made it 11-9 with 2:12 left. But Daube provided the answer, and a Weinberg steal and some last-minute exclusion jostling allowed Thomas Gruwell to add the lucky 13th in a 6-v-4 situation.

It means Daube and company remain in medal contention.

“I’m glad I didn’t miss any, but at the end of the day, I’m just happy with the team’s win,” he said. “I’m glad we got the win and I’m glad we get to have a chance to compete against Hungary in the quarterfinals. We have higher goals than just this game.”

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