Stanford grads help lead USA men past Brazil in water polo tourney


Stanford grad Alex Bowen scored three times in leading the USA Water Polo Men's National Team to a 16-11 victory over Brazil on Friday and a spot in the gold medal match of the FINA Intercontinental Tournament in Japan.

Cardinal grads Tony Azevedo and Bret Bonanni each added a pair of goals for the Americans, who play a final prelim match against China on Saturday.

Team USA's opponent in Sunday's championship will be determined Saturday, with Australia the likely opponent.

Azevedo sparked a 4-1 run that put the U.S. In front to stay. The Americans captain, who plays for Sao Paulo club side Sesi, scored right at the buzzer of the first period.

Bowen and Bonanni each scored critical goals in the second period as Team USA took a 6-5 advantage into halftime.

Merrill Moses recorded six of his 13 saves in the final period to keep the Brazilians at bay.

"We're just getting in a rhythm, but we showed our potential," U.S. coach Deian Udovicic said. "We're far away from how we want to be defensively, but I have to be pleased in scoring 16 goals against Brazil."

Team USA downed Australia in the first preliminary game earlier in the week.

"This time it will be a totally different kind of game," Udovicic said.

Brazil is led by former American coach Ratko Rudic.

"It's some kind of warning before beginning our final preparation for the Olympic Games," he said. "We missed some easy shots and forgot to concentrate on defense. USA was much more aggressive and physically stronger."

Team USA went 7-of-15 on power plays and did not attempt a penalty shot while Brazil was 4-of-9 on power plays and connected on its lone penalty attempt.

— Palo Alto Online Sports/USA Water polo

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