Men's Senior National Team

USA Men Fall Short Against Montenegro 8-5 In Fourth Match At 2016 Olympic Games; Will Not Advance To Quarterfinals


Luca Cupido scored a counter attack goal in the loss to Montenegro
Aug. 12, 2016

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - August 12 - The U.S. Olympic Men's Water Polo Team fell to Montenegro 8-5 earlier today and with it lost their medal hopes with just one game to play in group action. Trailing 4-3 after the third quarter the turning point occurred in the fourth following a brutality call on Alex Roelse (Maarssen, Netherlands/UCLA/Bruin) with 7:38 to play in the match. Montenegro went up on a four minute player advantage and proceeded to outscore the United States 4-2 the rest of the way. Josh Samuels (Villa Park, CA/UCLA/NYAC) scored two goals to lead the offense with Merrill Moses (Palos Verdes, CA/Pepperdine/NYAC) stopping seven shots in net.

With the loss the United States remains in fifth place in Group B action at 1-3 having lost matches to the two teams ahead in Spain and Montenegro. Only the top four teams advance to the quarterfinal round from each group. Team USA returns to action on Sunday against Italy at 3:30pm/2:30pm et/11:30am pt when the competition moves to the Olympic Aquatics Stadium. The match will be streamed live on NBCOlympics.com and the NBC Sports App at 2:30pm et/11:30am pt and air on NBC at 2:30pm et/2:30pm pt. For more information on USA Water Polo at the Olympics, click here.

Montenegro got on the board first with a score from Filip Klikovac with 6:37 to play in the opening period. Bret Bonanni (Huntington Beach, CA/Stanford/NYAC) evened the match some four minutes later with a tally at the 2:34 mark in the period. Montenegro had the last word in the period on a Sasa Misic goal to lead 2-1 going to the second quarter. 

Defense took over in the second quarter as neither side could find the back of the net leaving Montenegro ahead 2-1 at intermission. With 4:20 to go in the third quarter Samuels connected to tie the game at 2-2. Montenegro came back with two straight goals to go ahead 4-2 with 1:35 to play in the third quarter but John Mann (Newport Beach, CA/California/NYAC) powered home a goal to draw within 4-3. 

Early in the fourth, Roelse was called for a penalty and follow a referee discussion was then given a brutality call. Moses came up huge blocking the penalty shot for Team USA but moments later Montenegro cashed in on the power play goal from Mladan Janovic going up 5-3. Despite being down a player on both offense and defense the United States clawed back. Luca Cupido (Newport Beach, CA/California/Newport) forced a turnover on the perimeter and went the distance to score on the counter attack to make it 5-4 Montenegro. 

On the next possession Darko Brguljan connected on the extra man to put Montenegro ahead 6-4 with 5:08 to play. Samuels came calling again for the Americans hitting on an even strength posession after a Montenegro exclusion to make it 6-5 wth 3:49 to play. That would be as far as the USA rally would go on this day. Drasko Brguljan followed the Samuels goal immediately with a score of his own to make it 7-5. Montenegro would go on to win 8-5.

Quotes:

Tony Azevedo

On brutality call in fourth quarter:
"We had three punches out of the water and a busted lip in the Spain game and not a single brutality call. It's unbelievable that they called a brutality on our guy. Both players were grabbing each other and not one thing went on out of the water. It's really amazing to me."

On last game of group play:
"Our game against Italy will probably be my last game with the US team, so I'm going to come out positive and lead the guys. We are just going to try and go out on a positive note."

Scoring - Scoresheet
USA 5 (1, 0, 2, 2) J. Samuels 2, J. Mann 1, L. Cupido 1, B. Bonanni 1
MNE 8 (2, 0, 2, 4) Da. Brguljan 2, Dr. Brguljan 1, V. Paskovic 1, A. Petrovic 1, M. Janovic 1, S. Misic 1, F. Klikovac 1
Saves - USA - M. Moses 7, MNE - M. Scepanovic 13
6x5 - USA - 1/10 - MNE - 3/9* 
Penalties- USA - 0/0 - MNE - 0/1
*Montenegro had four minute advantage during fourth quarter

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