The United States national team won 1st place at the international tournament in Podgorica, after it narrowly defeated home team Montenegro in the last match.
After a regular time, the score of this very thrilling match was 10:10. The Americans had stronger nerves in the shootout and deserved a 14:13 win and 1st place.
Besides Montenegro and the USA, Serbia competed in the tournament and finished in 3rd place. The Serbs lost to the USA on Day 1 (7:13) and to Montenegro yesterday (9:13).
The last match of the tournament offered a lot of thrills. Team USA led for most of the time. Montenegro, which played without Aleksandar Ivovic and Dejan Lazovic, was three goals down during the second and third periods. Still, the hosts produced a 4:0 series and managed to come back. They earned a lead in the fourth quarter (10:9). However, the Americans scored an equalizer shortly before the final buzzer. And after that, they secured a win in the shootout.
Montenegro – USA 13:14 (1:3, 3:3, 4:3, 2:1, PSO 3:4)
Montenegro: Matkovic 5, Mrsic 2,Petkovic 1, Vucurovic 1, Cetkovic 1.
USA: Bowen 2, Irving 2, Vavic 2,Stevenson 2, Daube 1, Farmer 1.
Penalty shootout: Bowen 0:1, Matkovic 1:1, Hooper 1:2, Mrsic 2:2, Daube 2:3, Brguljan missed, Vavic 2:4, Perkovic 3:4, Stevenson missed, Spaic – saved by Holland.
For full statistics and play-by-play action visit: Total Waterpolo Arena, match Montenegro – USA
Dusan Matkovic scored an opening goal in the 2nd minute, from a penalty shot. Montenegro took a 1:0 lead, only to see Team USA scoring three straight goals within less than three minutes. The USA was up 3:1 in the 5th minute, which was the score after the first quarter.
The Montenegrins equalized midway through the second quarter (3:3). However, the Americans responded with a new 3:0 run (Bowen two goals, Vavic scored one) for 6:3. The second quarter was finished in the same way as the first started. In the last second, Montenegro earned a penalty shot. Matkovic sent the ball into the net from the 5m line and the hosts trailed by two goals at halftime (4:6).
Early in the third period, Montenegro cut the deficit (Cetkovic for 5:6). The Americans rebuilt a 3-goal lead twice (8:5, and 9:6). But, the hosts converted two penalty shots (Matkovic again and Mrsic) in the last 89 seconds of the third period and got back into the battle for a win – 8:9.
An 18-year-old Marko Mrsic opened the fourth quarter with a goal with a power-play advantage to level the score (9:9). Vucurovic gave the hosts a 10:9 lead in the 3rd minute of the final quarter. That was the end of the hosts’ 4:0 series.
Montenegro held the USA goalless for eight minutes. Max Irving broke the Americans’ silence for 10:10 with 01:59 seconds to go. Both teams had their chances to secure a win after Irving’s goal, but the match ended in a draw, and the penalty shootout decided the winner.
Four Americans found the net in the penalty series. Montenegro’s captain Drasko Brguljan missed in the third round. USA’s Stevenson missed in the 5th round. After that, Drew Holland saved a shot from Vladan Spaic and the USA won 14:13.
Find out more on the Total Waterpolo Arena tournament page.
Final standings: 1. USA 6 pts, 2. Montenegro 3, 3. Serbia 0.