Peter Varellas scored two goals and fellow Stanford grad Layne Beaubien added a solo tally as the USA Men's National Team advanced to the fifth-place match at the 2011 FINA World Championships with a 9-8 victory over Germany on Thursday.
Team USA will face either Spain or Montenegro for fifth place on Saturday in Shanghai, China.
"I think it is really positive for us," said USA coach Terry Schroeder. "I think there is the message that we have a lot of work to do. We don't want to be playing fifth through eighth, we want to be playing one, two, three. I think there is a realization that we are close to being there, but close doesn't count for much.
"We have a lot of work to do, the guys know that. I think it is some positive steps and we want to finish up with one more strong game and get into the summer and head into the Pan Ams with some good positive momentum."
The U.S. lost out on a chance to automatically qualify for the 2012 Summer Olympics following a loss earlier in the week to defending Olympic champion Hungary. The win over Germany was a positive step forward.
Team USA came out strong against Germany with Ryan Bailey scoring the first of his two goals on a power play to open things up just 40 seconds into the contest. Holding a 2-1 lead, the Americans added more as Beaubien connected on a power play and then, with just :24 left in the period, Bailey used a strong pump fake to ditch the keeper and find the net for a 4-1 lead.
After Germany rallied to tie at 4 in the second quarter, Team USA responded in a major way. Varellas got it started on a broken play that resulted in a score right as a power play was set to end for the United States. From there Adam Wright lobbed a pass over the top to Jeff Powers, who put the ball past the goalie in an alley-oop type play. With 2:04 remaining, the U.S. kept building the lead with Varellas again scoring on a power play for a 7-4 advantage.
The United States got what would prove to be a much-needed cushion in its lead at the 6:33 mark of the fourth period when Brian Alexander fired home a goal as the shot clock was expiring for a 9-6 advantage.
The United States went 7 for 10 on power plays while not attempting a penalty shot and Germany was 4 of 12 on power plays and 2 of 2 on penalty shots.
American Ryan Lochte broke his own world record in the 200 IM by winning the gold in 1:54.00 on Thursday in Shanghai, China. The mark broke Lochte's time set in Rome two years ago when the since-banned suits were used.
He became the first man to shoot down a world record in the post-techsuit era with an astounding effort that relegated teammate Michael Phelps to second in 1:54.16.
Stanford grad Markus Rogan of Austria clocked 1:58.14 while finishing fifth.
In the women's 800 free relay, the United States captured the gold medal with a time of 7:46.14. The relay members were Missy Franklin, Dagny Knutson, Katie Hoff and Allison Schmitt. Palo Alto High senior Jasmine Tosky swam the third leg during the prelims and thus earned a gold medal, as well.