Sports

USA men stay alive in water polo with a big victory

 

Stanford grads Peter Varellas, Tony Azevedo and Peter Hudnut all scored goals at the USA Men's National Team made it back-to-back victories and earned a trip into the quarterfinals with a dominant 17-4 victory over Canada on Sunday at the FINA World Championships in Shanghai, China.

Team USA now moves on to face Hungary on Tuesday in a rematch of the gold-medal final from the 2008 Olympic Games.

"The coaches got us very focused for this game, said USA goalie Merrill Moses. "We wanted to make a statement in this game. It's against Canada and we know no matter what we're going to be playing Canada in the Pan American Games and we wanted to let them know that we are a team to be taken seriously.

"We haven't been gelling and having the chemistry we wanted in the tournament and it feels like we are getting it back . . . We just had to stick to our game plan. We weren't sticking to our game plan and playing as a team and we brought that back together and now we have a big game against Hungary to get to the final four."

Four different players tallied three goals on the day including Jesse Smith, Jeff Powers, Tim Hutten and Ryan Bailey. Moses and Andy Stevens combined to stop 12 shots.

Hudnut scored to give the U.S. an 8-2 lead on the way to an 11-2 advantage at halftime. Canada got to within 12-4 in the second half before Azevedo took a pass from Varellas and scored. Varellas scored in the fourth period and assisted on a goal by Powers.

"I think they (the team) started to get excited about playing," U.S. coach Terry Schroeder said of his team. "They came to play with a little sense of urgency, which is what we've been lacking, we've been a little bit complacent. I think they are taking pride in how they play defense and hopefully that will carry over to the next few games."

— Palo Alto Online Sports/USA Water Polo

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