U.S. men's water polo falls to Aussies in Intercontinental semifinal
The U.S. men's water polo team fell in shootouts to Australia, 17-16, in the semifinals of the FINA Intercontinental Tournament at Corona del Mar on Friday night.
Bret Bonanni (Mater Dei) scored a power-play goal with 14 seconds left in the fourth period to tie the score, 13-13, and help force shootouts.
But the Aussies won the shootout, 4-3, to advance to Saturday's gold-medal match against Brazil, a 14-12 winner against China in the other semifinal.
Team USA will play China at noon for the bronze. The gold-medal game will follow at 1:30 p.m.
At the 2012 Olympics, Australia beat the United States, 10-9, in the seventh-place game.
On Friday, the Aussies led Team USA, 13-10, with just over two minutes left but the Americans rallied with extra-man strikes by Alex Bowen (2:05 left), Josh Samuels (56 seconds) and Bonanni to force shootouts.
In shootouts, Australia scored on its first four penalty shots before McQuin Baron made a block in the fifth round for the U.S. team. Baron's block left former Corona del Mar standout John Mann with a chance in the fifth round to tie the shootout at 4-4 but his shot was blocked.
Australia and Team USA had similar finishes in 2014. The Aussies finished fifth at the FINA World Cup and fourth in the World League. Team USA was fourth at the World Cup last year and fifth in the World League.
Brazil, with new coach Ratko Rudic, is an intriguing finalist. The 2016 Olympic host will make its first appearance in the Games since 1984 when it competes in Rio.