U.S. men face big water polo challenge against Serbia


Stanford grad and four-time Olympian Tony Azevedo scored five times and the United States men's senior national water polo team beat Brazil, 10-7, Wednesday in pool play of the FINA World League Super Final in Huizhou, China.

Cardinal grad Alex Bowen added two goals for the Americans (13-1 overall), who meet defending world and European champions Serbia on Thursday on the final day of preliminary play.

Alex Bowen. Photo by Kelley L Cox/KLC fotos
The U.S. dropped its last two meetings against the Serbs, but have won four of the past six meetings.

Merrill Moses and McQuin Baron split time in goal, combining to record 10 saves. The U.S. has been without the services of Stanford grad Bret Bonanni, who is nursing a viral illness. He's expected to try playing against Serbia.

"We have about seven or eight young players, who are university students," American coach Dejan Udovicic said. "They never competed in big international events, though they play better and better each game."

Team USA took the lead for good at 7-6, when California junior Luca Cupido scored midway through the third period.

"We only caught the rhythm of the game in the second half," Udovicic said. "We started very slow because we just arrived here two days ago and we still had jet lag. We missed a major player in Bret Bonanni."

In a contest that featured a combined 26 ejections, the U.S. managed to take advantage of just four of 15 power plays and converted one of two penalty shots. Brazil was 4-of-11 on power plays and did not attempt a penalty shot.

— Palo Alto Online Sports/USA water polo

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