The United States men's national water polo team certainly had its chances in the opener of the FINA World Championships in Shanghai on Monday. The problem was in its start.
As a result, the Americans fell to Germany, 9-7, in pool play. That sets up a must-win scenario for the U.S. if it wants to compete for the world title. The Americans meet Italy on Wednesday and South Africa on Friday.
Stanford grad and U.S. team captain Tony Azevedo scored twice and Cardinal grads Layne Beaubien, Peter Hudnut and Peter Varellas each added a goal for the Americans.
Germany scored the first five goals of the contest, putting the U.S. in a hole from which it cold not recover.
Hudnut and Azevedo each scored during a frantic third period to help bring the Americans within one goal entering the final period.
"The end result was 17 turnovers for us and we started off terribly," Azevedo said. "You can't go down 4-0 and expect to win a game. We fought back pretty strong, it shows the team has heart, but we just couldn't finish."
The U.S was 4-of-9 on power plays while the Germans were 5-of-10. Italy beat South Africa, 17-1, in the other opening pool play contest.