USA Downs Serbia at Canyonview Pool

    Photo by Megan Lee
    Photo by Megan Lee

    In the first matchup of a four-game series against the number two team in the world, team USA came out on top with goals from John Mann and Bret Bonanni.

    Photo by Megan Lee
    Photo by Megan Lee

    This past Tuesday, Team USA played the Serbian national team in front of a sold-out crowd at Canyonview Pool. USA water polo, led by John Mann from the New York Athletic Club and Bret Bonanni from Stanford University, defeated the Serbians 12–10 after a thrilling finish.

    The designated home team, Serbia, scored first through Strahinja Rasovic on a superb deviation in front of the goal to beat USA goalie Merrill Moses. Team USA equalized shortly after in the first quarter on a five meter, but Serbia took a 2–1 lead into the second quarter on a goal from Zivko Gocic.

    In the second period, the No. 2 team Serbia extended its lead when it netted another goal, putting the score at 3–1 in its favor. Team USA finally settled down and dominated the rest of the period. Serbia led 4–2 when Team USA scored four unanswered goals to end the period. Mann got on the board and back-to-back goals by Bonanni gave the United States a 6–4 lead going into halftime.

    Dusan Mandic scored at the beginning of the third period to make it a one-goal game, but Team USA pulled away with three more unanswered goals — netted by Mann, Bonanni and NYAC‘s Tony Azevedo, respectively — to take a commanding 9–5 lead. Although Serbia scored a goal before the end of the period to reduce the deficit, the damage was done.

    In the final period, the U.S. took a 10–7 lead on Mann’s fourth goal of the game. Serbia was not done, however, as it made a final push for the game and got within one goal of its opponent with three minutes remaining. With a slim 11–10 lead, Team USA once again relied on Mann, who delivered with his fifth goal of the game to seal the deal. The defense and Moses, who had eight saves in the game, shut out the Serbians in the final 3:03 of play.

    It is the first time Team USA defeated the Serbian national team since the Olympic semifinal in 2008. This game was only the first of a four-game series that will continue today in Riverside, California, at El Toro High School in Lake Forest, California on Sunday and will finish next Tuesday in Chicago.

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