Sports

Ten local water polo players will play in Pan Ams

 

A total of 10 athletes with ties to Stanford and the local area will be competing for the USA Water Polo men's and women's teams for the upcoming 2015 Pan American Games this July in Toronto, Canada.

U.S. head coaches Adam Krikorian (women) and Dejan Udovicic (men) announced the rosters this week. Both teams won gold at the 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico and will look to defend their crown come the start of competition on July 7.

For the USA men, this event also will serve as one of three qualifying opportunities in 2015 for the 2016 Olympic Games. A gold medal at the Pan Ams, the 2015 FINA World League Super Final, or a top-three finish at the 2015 FINA World Championships can clinch an Olympic berth for the men's squad.

Normally a qualifier for the USA women as well, that will not be the case in this year with Brazil, a Pan American participant, hosting next year's Olympic Games.

The U.S. Pan American men's team is anchored by four-time Olympian and Stanford grad Tony Azevedo. Joining him will be Stanford grad Alex Bowen and current Cardinal players Jackson Kimbell and Bret Bonanni.

The USA men are slotted in Group A with Ecuador, Cuba, and Argentina.

The U.S. Pan American women's water polo team features four athletes from the squad that won gold at the 2012 Olympic Games -- Kami Craig, Courtney Mathewson, Stanford grad Melissa Seidemann and Cardinal senior Maggie Steffens.

Also competing for Team USA is incoming Stanford freshman Makenzie Fischer plus Cardinal grads Ashley Grossman and Kiley Neushul. Menlo Park's KK Clark, a UCLA grad and former Sacred Heart Prep standout, also will play for the U.S.

Stanford's five representatives on the 13-player roster led the United States to an undefeated 10-0 mark in the month of June and gold medals at the Kunshan Cup in China and the FINA World League Super Final in Shanghai.

They were responsible for half of Team USA's 66 goals over the six games at the FINA World League Super Final to help the United States to the tournament crown for the ninth time. Fischer put home 10, Neushul added nine, Steffens contributed eight, Grossman scored five and Seidemann tallied one.

The American women set a mark for the Guinness Book of World Records in their last Pan American Games appearance, when they set the mark for most shootout rounds in a water polo match with 20 -- in a shootout victory over Canada to claim the gold medal.

The USA Women are slotted in Group A with Mexico, Cuba, and Argentina.

FINA Super Final

The USA Men's Senior National Team opened play at the FINA World League Super final with a 13-7 loss to Serbia on Tuesday.

Stanford grad Alex Bowen and Cardinal senior Bret Bonanni scored two goals each in the loss.

Team USA returns to action on Wednesday with a meeting against Australia. The match will stream live via FINA TV.

Serbia took control of this match early on opening up a 6-3 lead after the first period and a 9-3 advantage at halftime. The number two ranked team in the world put the match away in the third quarter, outscoring Team USA, 3-1, to take a commanding 12-4 lead headed to the fourth.

The United States got their offense back on track posting three goals in the final eight minutes but the damage had already been done.

— Palo Alto Online Sports/USA Water Polo

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