The USA Water Polo men's National Team won the Pan American Games gold medal and a berth to the 2012 Olympic Games with a 7-3 defeat of Canada at the Pan American Games on Saturday in Guadalajara, Mexico.
Stanford grad Tony Azevedo scored three goals and former Cardinal Peter Hudnut added a solo tally.
The gold medal represents Team USA's fifth straight Pan American Games title. Azevedo was selected as Team USA's flag bearer for the Pan American Games closing ceremony taking place Sunday evening.
A tight first quarter gave way to a commanding effort by Team USA that saw their defense flummox Canada at every turn allowing just three scores, the last of which came with less than a minute remaining in the contest.
Azevedo, the team captain playing in his first game of the tournament after battling a muscle strain, delivered with his three goals. Merrill Moses posted eight saves in anchoring the defense that recorded seven field blocks and forced the Canadians into 0-for-8 shooting on power plays.
Each team got off to a slow start as it was scoreless up until the 3:04 mark when Hudnut broke the ice on a power-play score to go up 1-0. Canada answered on the next possession to even the game at 1-1. With 1:33 left in the period Team USA got on the right side of a two goal swing when Moses shut down a 2-on-1 break by Canada which led to Azevedo delivering a lob shot score for a 2-1 lead.
Three minutes into the second period Canada again tied the match at 2-2, but that would be as close as they would get. Azevedo cashed in another lob with :46 left in the quarter and then Jesse Smith closed out the half with deep goal with less than a second on the clock to take a 4-2 advantage.
The momentum carried into the second half as the defense kept Canada at bay for the entire third quarter while the USA offense closed the period with a bang as Azevedo buried a shot from distance for a 5-2 lead.
Team USA closed things up in the fourth period with a Tim Hutten power-play goal and a Jeff Powers' outside shot to go up 7-2. The United States went 2-for-3 on power plays..
Stanford graduate Cassidy Krug and her partner Kassidy Cook won a bronze medal in the synchronized three-meter to close out the Pan American Games as Cardinal swimmers and divers combined for 11 medals.
Mexico's Laura Sanchez and Paola Espinosa, who sandwiched Krug in Friday's medal standings in the three-meter springboard, won the event with 338.70 points. Canada's Jennifer Abel and Emile Heymans were silver medalists with a score of 336.30 points. Krug and Cook had 319.50 points as the three teams remained 1-2-3 throughout the five dives.
On their final dive, Krug and Cook scored 8.0's or better from all 11 judges, scoring 73.80 points to finish with 319.50 points. The duo scored 8.5's or better from eight of 11 judges on their fourth dive, a back 2 Ĺ somersault, for a best to that point of 75.60 to keep them in medal contention.