TAIPEI, Taiwan — After starting the tournament with a close loss and a draw ,the USA men's water polo team earned its first win at the World University Games against Romania 12-6.
Olympian Alex Obert (Pacific) led the way with three goals on offense with Chris Whitelegge (Coastline CC) recording 12 saves in net. Team USA returns to play on Wednesday when it meets Italy in the qualification round at 3:40 a.m. ET. Team USA finishes Group D play at 1-1-1. For more information on the tournament visit 2017.taipei. Live streaming is expected to be available of the semifinal matches and medal matches at LiveStream.com/FISU.
USA Men defeat Romania 12-6 for first victory at the 2017 World University Games. #SUTaipei2017— USA Water Polo (@USAWP) August 21, 2017
Romania struck first in the match to take a 1-0 lead early in the opening period. Its advantage was short-lived as Chancellor Ramirez (UCLA) returned fire with a goal to tie the match at 1-1 with 2:42 to play in the quarter. Team USA never looked back from there, building a 3-1 lead by the end of the period on goals from Kyle Trush (UC Irvine) and Obert.
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In the second quarter, the United States took command by outscoring Romania 5-0. Austin Stevenson (Long Beach State) started with a goal less than a minute into the period. Trush and Ramirez followed with scores for a 6-1 lead with 4:11 to play in the half. Nolan McConnell (Long Beach State) and Obert closed the scoring and Team USA took a comfortable 8-1 lead into halftime.
The first half of the third quarter saw Romania look to rally as they scored three of the first four goals in the period to close the deficit to 9-4 with 3:41 to play. Ben Stevenson (Pacific) slowed the comeback with a score to put the United States in front 10-4 with 2:07 to play in the period. Romania added one last goal in the period with 24 seconds to play and it was a 10-5 game going to the fourth.
Romania scored to open the fourth, making it 10-6 with more than seven minutes to play but Team USA would let it get no closer. Obert and McConnell silenced the rally with two more goals and the United States took the match by six.