Men's Senior National Team

Tony Azevedo Retires After Final Game At Stanford; USA Falls To Croatia 8-7


Tony Azevedo played his final game at Stanford, scoring one goal in a loss to Croatia
June 11, 2017

Stanford, CA – June 11 – One of the greatest players in USA Water Polo history said farewell to international competition on Sunday afternoon as Tony Azevedo (Long Beach, CA/Stanford/NYAC) played his final game for Team USA in an 8-7 loss to Croatia at Stanford University. The only man to play in five Olympic Games for USA Water Polo scored one goal in the first half before being honored at halftime and sitting out the final two quarters. Alex Bowen (Santee, CA/Stanford/NYAC) scored three goals to pace the Team USA attack in the second match of a four game set. Drew Holland (Orinda, CA/Stanford/Lamorinda) and McQuin Baron (North Tustin, CA/USC/Regency) split time in net combining for 11 saves. The two teams will resume play on Tuesday evening at Oaks Christian School in Westlake Village, CA at 7pm pt. To watch a replay of today’s game click here. Live streaming of Tuesday’s game will be available at Facebook.com/USAWP.

Team USA started off strong on goals from Bowen and Azevedo to go ahead 2-0 before Croatia scored later in the first period to make it 2-1 after one. Croatia reeled off two more unanswered goals to start the second quarter grabbing their first lead of the match at 3-2. Chancellor Ramirez (Pasadena, CA/UCLA/NYAC) answered with a tally at the 4:36 mark to draw the game even at 3-3. Luca Cupido (Santa Margherita, Italy/California/Newport) scored moments later giving the United States a 4-3 advantage going into halftime.

Bowen opened the third with two straight goals and the United States was in command ahead 6-3 with 3:34 to play in the quarter before Croatia began to chip away. Javier Garcia scored two straight for Croatia to bring the visitors to within one at 6-5 going to the fourth. Loren Fatovic tied the game for Croatia early in the fourth at 6-6 before Johnny Hooper (Los Angeles, CA/California/LA Premier) put the United States ahead 7-6 with under five minutes to play.

Andelo Setka scored at the 4:34 mark to tie the game and then with less than to two minutes to play Fatovic added another to take an 8-7 lead. Final attempts from Team USA proved fruitless and Croatia was able to hold on for the victory 8-7.

Team USA struggled on the power play going 0/9 with no penalty shot attempts while Croatia was 3/10 on power plays and 0/1 on penalties thanks to a Holland block.  

The day was all about Azevedo, the longtime captain who helped the United States to an Olympic silver medal in 2008, returning to his college pool where he helped the Cardinal to two NCAA titles. The eight time FINA World Championship participant who won four straight Cutino Awards as the best player in college was honored at halftime for his contributions to the sport.

His college coaches John Vargas and Dante Dettamanti represented Stanford and presented Azevedo with a vase while Vargas (also Azevedo’s first Olympic coach in 2000) offered words of praise. The Croatian team followed by presenting Azevedo with a Croatian cap featuring Azevedo’s number 8. Azevedo spent time playing in Croatia and his son Cruz was born in the country. USA Water Polo followed as Chief High Performance Officer John Abdou and Chief Operating Officer Marty Samuels presented Azevedo with a number eight USA cap while Abdou thanked Azevedo for inspiring multiple generations. The moment closed with Azevedo addressing the thousands of fans, thanking them and the live audience watching around the world for their support throughout a career that spanned over two decades.

Azevedo added a closing thought during the halftime presentation.

“All I can say is, 22 years ago I was inspired by a game, and by an athlete. I hope for those of you who were here at the clinic today or those of you watching, when I was inspired, it took four years hard work, and I did it, and became an Olympian. There’s nothing better for me than ending with these guys right here. I’ve literally bled, sweat and cried with Team USA. Being one of 13 people chosen every fours years to represent their country, there’s no better feeling than that.”

Scoring
USA 7 (2, 2, 2, 1) A. Bowen 3, L. Cupido 1, C. Ramirez 1, T. Azevedo 1, J. Hooper 1
CRO 8 (1, 2, 2, 3) L. Fatovic 3, J. Garcia 2, I. Buljubasic 1, I. Krapic 1, A. Setka 1
Saves – USA – D. Holland 6, M. Baron 5 – CRO – M. Bijac 9
6x5 – USA – 0/9 – CRO – 3/10
Penalties – USA 0/0 – CRO – 0/1

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