Men's Senior National Team

USA Men Defeat Russia 14-11 To Close Out Group Play At FINA World Championships


Johnny Hooper came away with a penalty shot block late in the win over Russia
July 21, 2017

Budapest, Hungary - July 21 - The USA Men's National Team defeated Russia 14-11 on the final day of group play at the FINA World Championships but it wasn't enough to secure advancement. Luca Cupido (Santa Margherita, Italy/California/Newport) and Alex Bowen (Santee, CA/Stanford/NYAC) each scored four goals powering a hot offensive start and the United State's best effort of the tourney. McQuin Baron (North Tustin, CA/USC/Regency) added 15 saves in net. Today's match will air on Olympic Channel on delay at 3pm et/12pm pt.

Team USA was in need of an eight goal victory over Russia or a win over Russia and a Japan victory over Croatia to finish in the top three in Group D and advance. With Croatia's 16-6 win over Japan following the USA-Russia match, the United States was relegated to the 13th-16th place bracket. They will meet South Africa in the 13th-16th semifinal on Sunday 6am et/3am pt. Broadcast coverage is to be determined with live streaming expected on Olympic Channel by clicking here

Coming off a difficult loss to Japan on Wednesday, Team USA came out on fire against Russia scoring at will to open the match. Alex Roelse (Maarssen, Netherlands/UCLA/Bruin) connected to give the United States the lead with 5:47 to play in the period. After Russia tied the game moments later Team USA went on a run piling up five unanswered goals to end the quarter leading 6-1. Bowen scored the first three and Cupido the last two in that five goal surge. 

It continued in the second quarter with another Bowen score and the first tally of the tournament for Max Irving (Long Beach, CA/UCLA/LA Water Polo) to put the United States ahead 8-1 with 4:02 left in the half. With an eight goal loss now a very real possiblity and facing their own elimination, Russia battled back scoring five of the next six goals to climb back into the match trailing 9-6 at halftime. 

Cupido and Thomas Dunstan (New Canaan, CT/USC/Regency) rebuilt the lead in the third with back-to-back goals for an 11-6 advantage around the five minute mark. Russia countered with a strike but Dunstan answered again and Team USA was in control leading 12-7 after three periods. 

Two minutes into the fourth it was Cupido again scoring to push the lead to 13-7 and the eight goal win was still in sight. Then Russia buckled down on offense scoring four of the next five goals to finish out the match. In that run Russia also drew a penalty on Ben Hallock followed by an exclusion on Baron during the penalty shot setup. After coach Dejan Udovicic was red carded from the match, Hooper filled in at goalkeeper blocking the penalty try by Russia. 

The United States took the victory 14-11 but came up short in the margin of victory. Team USA went 4/13 on power plays and did not attempt a penalty while Russia was 4/15 on power plays and 0/1 on penalty attempts. 

Scoring
USA 14 (6, 3, 3, 2) A. Bowen 4, L. Cupido 4, J. Hooper 2, T. Dunstan 2, A. Roelse 1, M. Irving 1
RUS 11 (1, 5, 1, 4) Shepelev 2, Nagaev 2, Merkulov 2, Bugayachuk 2, Derevianinkin 1, Kholod 1, Lisunov 1
Saves - USA - M. Baron 15
6x5 - USA - 4/13 - RUS - 4/15
Penalties - USA - 0/0 - RUS 0/1

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