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Men's Water Polo Team Tops Serbia For First Time Since 2008

By USA Water Polo | June 03, 2015, 12:55 a.m. (ET)

Merrill Moses reaches up to block a shot by Serbia in the men's semifinal game at the Yingdong Natatorium at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games on August 22, 2008 in Beijing.

La Jolla, CA - June 2 - In front of a sold out crowd at UC-San Diego's Canyonview Pool, the USA Men's National Team beat Serbia for the first time since the 2008 Olympic Games, winning 12-10. John Mann (Newport Beach, CA/California/NYAC) scored a game high five goals while Bret Bonanni (Huntington Beach, CA/Stanford/Stanford) added four goals in the win. Merrill Moses (Palos Verdes, CA/Pepperdine/NYAC) tallied eight saves in the win. The two teams will meet again on Thursday night at 7:30pm pt at the Riverside Aquatics Complex. 

Serbia jumped out to a 2-1 lead at the end of the first quarter and built a 3-1 advantage before Team USA began to chip away. Mann got on the board with his first goal and Alex Obert (Loomis, CA/Pacific/Sac Polo) added a tally moments later to make it 4-3 Serbia. Mann came back with another and then Bret Bonanni (Huntington Beach, CA/Stanford/Stanford) scored twice and suddenly Team USA was ahead 6-4 at halftime. 

Dusan Mandic scored to stop the bleeding for Serbia but the United States answered with goals from Tony Azevedo (Long Beach, CA/Stanford/NYAC), Mann and Bonanni to take a 9-5 lead, their largest of the night. Gavril Subotic connected for a score late in the third leaving team USA ahead 9-6 going to the fourth. Bonanni hit for his fourth goal of the night with 6:03 remaining to put Team USA up 11-8 but Serbia, the number two ranked team in the world, wasn't done yet. Slobodan Nikic scored followed by the second of the match for Subotic to make it a one goal game at 11-10 with just over three minutes to play. Team USA slammed the door shut with the fifth and final goal from Mann with 1:26 to play and the defense held the rest of the way. 

Stefan Mitrovic led the Serbian attack with three goals. The last time Team USA beat Serbia was on August 22, 2008, a 10-5 win in the semifinal round of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China. 


USA 12 (1, 5, 3, 3) J. Mann 5, B. Bonanni 4, T. Azevedo 2, A. Obert 1
SRB 10 (2, 2, 2, 4) S. Mitrovic 3, G. Subotic 2, S. Nikic 2, S. Rasovic 1, D. Mandic 1, Z. Gocic 1

Saves - USA - M. Moses - 8 - SRB - G. Pijetlovic 2, B. Mitrovic 3

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Merrill Moses