Serbia beat Team USA in the most exciting game of the three-nation tournament in Texas. The Serbs downed the host 14:11 after a penalty shootout in Dallas.
A hero of the win was Serbia’s goalkeeper Branislav Mitrovic, who saved three shots in the penalty drama.
After five days, Serbia has two wins, Spain two, and the USA one victory. The Serbs finished the tournament. Spain and USA will play in the last round to decide the final standings.
Three-nation tournament Texas, Day 5
USA – Serbia 11:14 (4:2, 1:1, 5:6, 1:2, PSO 0:3)
USA: Holland, Ch.Dodd, Vavic, Abramson 2, Q. Woodhead, Cupido, Hallock 2, D. Woodhead, Bowen 2, Stevenson 2, Ehrhardt, Irving 1, Farmer 2, Turner. Head coach: Udovicic.
Serbia: Filipovic, Radulovic 1, Pljevancic, Randjelovic 1, Lazic 1, Martinovic 2, Drasovic 2, Jaksic 2, Jankovic, Ubovic 1, Stojanovic 2, Vucinic 2, Mitrovic. Head coach: Stevanovic.
The pool in Dallas suited the Serbs, who lost both games in the first half of the tournament, held in Lewisville, but recorded two victories in Dallas (on Day 4, they beat world champion Spain).
The Americans opened the fifth match of the tour better and earned a 2:0 lead. The Serbs leveled at 2:2, but the Americans rebuilt a 2-goal lead (4:2) before the second quarter. At halftime, the hosts had a 5:3 lead.
After eight goals in the first two periods, a total of eleven goals were scored in the third quarter. Defenses weakened. Serbia scored the opening two goals in this period and equalized (5:5). The visitors leveled the score three more times in the third quarter (6:6, 7:7, 8:8). At the finish of the quarter, the Americans built a two-goal lead again – 10:8 (Irving scored an action goal, while Stevenson added one from the penalty line) . Serbia earned a penalty 15 seconds before the last break. Captain Jaksic hit the back of the net and only a goal separated the rivals before the final quarter, Serbia trailed 9:10.
At the beginning of the fourth period, Drasovic found the net from a distance with a nice lob to level at 10:10. After that, the Americans had a chance to earn an advantage from a penalty shot, but Branislav Mitrovic saved a shot from Alex Bowen (It was Mitrovic’s second blocked penalty in regular time). But, in the 27th minute, Serbia’s goalkeeper couldn’t stop a shot from Abramson, who scored an action goal to give the USA an 11:10 advantage. The hosts kept a slim lead for a while. Still, the Serbs leveled with 65 seconds to go – center-forward Ubovic netted for 11:11. Team USA had a man-up in its last possession in the match, but Mitrovic posted another save. This time, he blocked a shot from Hallock. At the other end of the pool, Stojanovic hit the post with four seconds left on the clock and the match entered a shootout.
As already mentioned, Mitrovic was a hero of the shootout. He saved shots from Stevenson, Bowen and Irving. Radulovic was the only one in the Serbian team who didn’t score in the shootout. He hit the crossbar (after Turner touched the ball). Stojanovic, Vucinic and Martinovic made no mistake, and Serbia celebrated the win.
1. Spain 3 games – 2 wins (35:34)
2. Serbia 4 – 2 (51:51)
3. USA 3 – 1 (36:37)
All results: USA – Serbia 16:12, Serbia – Spain 11:12, USA – Spain 9:11, Spain – Serbia 12:14, USA – Serbia 11:14 (PSO).