Stanford grad and four-time Olympian Tony Azevedo scored the winning goal in Team USA's thrilling 17-16 shootout victory over Greece at the FINA World League Super Final on Saturday in Huizhou, China.
McQuin Baron made the final stop in the shootout as the Americans advanced to their first Super Final championship in eight years. The U.S. has a rematch with Serbia for the title on Sunday.
"I need to give credit to my guys. They showed guts and deserved the win," USA coach Dejan Udovicic said. "We had some problems in the numbers of exclusions in the middle of the game. But I am proud of my guys more how they got through the game. As a young team, we need to learn how to play and finish a close game within 10 seconds. We need to learn how to pass and received the balls."
Azevedo scored two goals in regulation and two in the penalty phase, while Cal's Luca Cupido added four goals in regulation and one in the shootout to lead the offense.
The USA Men got off to a strong start opening up a 5-2 lead after the first quarter. Greece rallied with three goals in the second quarter to draw within one at 6-5 at the intermission.
A high scoring third quarter followed with Greece outscoring Team USA 5-4 to tie the match at 10-10 going to the fourth.
Defense picked up in the fourth quarter with each side only mustering one goal in the very final moments. Cupido scored with 49 seconds left to put Team USA ahead 11-10 only to see Greece tie it with less than a second left on a goal from Christos Afroudakis.
Team USA went 6-of-11 on power plays while Greece went 3-of-10 on power plays with neither side attempting a penalty in regulation. Merrill Moses led the goalkeeping efforts in regulation turning aside nine shots. Baron's lone save came in the penalty shootout.