Palo Alto Weekly

Sports - July 19, 2013

Stanford products lead U.S. water polo teams

by Keith Peters

The U.S. men's and women's national teams, each loaded with Stanford products, made their final preparations for the upcoming water polo competition at the FINA World Championships this weekend by compiling 2-1 records in their respective tournaments over the weekend.

The men earned victories over Canada and China before falling to Serbia in the Four Nations Tournament in Belgrade, Serbia. The USA women, meanwhile, finished second at the Dutch Trophy tournament on Sunday in Gouda, Netherlands.

The Americans wrapped up three days of play with an 11-7 victory over Greece. Stanford's Annika Dries scored three goals, as did teammate Kelly Rulon, while goalie Betsey Armstrong stopped six shots. Stanford grad Lolo Silver and current Cardinal Kiley Neushul each added two goals.

On Day 2 of the tournament, Team USA dropped a 14-13 decision to the Netherlands. Dries scored three goals in the setback. Silver and Neushul each scored twice while Stanford's Maggie Steffens added one goal.

The U.S. opened the tournament on Friday with a 15-8 win over Canada. Steffens and recent Stanford grad Melissa Seidemann tossed in three goals apiece with Dries adding one. The Americans were 5-of-11 on power-play goals.

Next up for Team USA will be a rematch with Greece to open the FINA World Championships on Sunday in Barcelona, Spain. Also playing for the U.S. women is Sacred Heart Prep and UCLA grad KK Clark from Atherton.

The USA men will open play in the World Championships on Monday against Croatia.

The squad, with five current or former Stanford players, defeated Canada (11-9) and China (14-8) before losing to host Serbia (14-12) in the Four Nations Tournament.

Stanford grads Janson Wigo and Tony Azevedo along with current Cardinal Alex Bowen had solo goals against Canada. Azevedo scored four times against China with Wigo adding two. Against Serbia, Wigo and Azevedo each scored twice.

* * *

When Stanford's Kiley Neushul is finished competing in Barcelona, she'll join up with the USA team for the FINA Women's Junior World Championships from Aug. 19-25 in Volos, Greece. She'll be joined by Stanford teammate Ashley Grossman. The Americans will open against Kazakhstan on Aug. 19 before facing Italy and New Zealand.

Before the women hit the pool in Greece, the USA men will compete in their FINA Junior World Championships, set for Aug. 12-18 in Szombathely, Hungary. Stanford will be represented by Adam Abdulhamid, Jackson Kimbell, Bret Bonanni and Bowen.

The Americans will open against Spain on Aug. 12 before facing Slovakia and Russia in pool play.

* * *

Local pools will be busy this weekend as the 2013 US Open of Water Polo splashes down on the Mid-Peninsula. Action begins Friday and wraps up Sunday with matches being played at Gunn, Palo Alto and Sacred Heart Prep.

Sacred Heart Prep will serve as the championship site, with the men's gold-medal match set for Sunday at 4:30 p.m. First place in the women's bracket will be decided at 3:15 p.m.

Third-place matches will be held at SHP at 12:30 p.m. (men) and 2 p.m. (women).

The Newport Water Polo Foundation will defend its men's title while the New York Athletic Club will defend its women's crown. The Stanford men's team will take part, opening on Friday against the defending champs at SHP starting at 1:20 p.m. Stanford will wrap up the first day of play at SHP by taking on Navy at 8:20 p.m.

* * *

The Stanford Boys Water Polo Club brought home two medals in four age divisions from the US Club Championships that wrapped up Sunday in Southern California.

"We had a great weekend," said Jon Barnea, whose program got a gold medal from the 12&U team and a silver from the 16&U squad.

"The US Club Championships is the most competitive tournament hosted in the U.S., and our coaching staff did an amazing job leading our teams against the best teams in the country," Barnea said.

Stanford was one of only two programs to bring home more than one medal.

The 12&U team, headed by Gunn coach Matt Johnson, went 6-0 while defeating Riverside (15-1), Northwood (10-8), SoCal (7-2), San Diego Shores (8-4), Lamorinda Water Polo (7-3) and Commerce in the championship match, 6-4.

The Stanford 16s went 3-2-1 and earned the silver, thanks to winning at the right time. After losing to SET, 14-11, Stanford beat Lamorinda WP (11-4), lost to SoCal (11-8), defeated unbeaten Foothill (9-4) and San Diego Shores (12-9), before tying SoCal, 11-11, but losing the shootout (6-4) in the finals.

SoCal went 3-0 in pool play while Stanford, Lamorinda and SET all went 1-2 in the bracket. Stanford earned the No. 2 seed by goal differential. Finishing second in the bracket earned the match with unbeaten Foothill, which hadn't lost to any 16&U team this year.

That win put Stanford into the title match. Brian Kreutzkamp, head coach at Sacred Heart Prep, guided the team's fortunes.

The Stanford 18&U team, meanwhile, finished 10th with a 3-2-1 record while the 14&U squad finished 13th with a 17-16 victory over Rose Bowl.

Next up for the Stanford boys will be the National Junior Olympics, July 27-30 in Orange County. The girls' Junior Olympics will run Aug. 1-4 at the same sites.

Comments

Posted by Thomas Watkins, a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 29, 2013 at 12:03 pm

The first sentence in this article says so much more than intended. "The U.S. men's and women's national teams, each loaded with Stanford products, made their final preparations for the upcoming water polo competition at the FINA World Championships this weekend by compiling 2-1 records in their respective tournaments over the weekend." All this time, I've been thinking that the players were people.


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