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U.S. men's water polo team to play for fifth place at Shanghai

July 28, 2011 |  8:28 pm

Four-time Olympian Terry Schroeder, coach of the U.S. men's water polo team, has been providing updates from the world championships in Shanghai. Here's his latest report after Thursday's match:

Another solid effort by our team. This time we did not let Germany jump on us early. Instead, we took a commanding 4-1 lead and played a great first half. We actually went up, 8-4, at the half.

The best part of what was going on in the game for us was our six-on-five play. We scored our first seven six-on-five situations and this was a big part of our early lead.  We were confident, aggressive, and yet we were patient and smart. We worked the ball around very well and made great choices as we broke down the defense.

The Germans made a big charge in the third and fourth quarter as we lost a bit of momentum.  In the end we hung on for an exciting 9-8 victory.

One of the best elements of this game was that we actually had seven different players score for us.  Ryan Bailey led the way with two goals and Peter Varellas, Peter Hudnut, Adam Wright, Brian Alexander, Jeff Powers and Layne Beaubien each scored to secure the win.  Merrill [Moses] played another great game in the cage. It was a good team effort.

We will need another one Saturday as we will face off with Spain for fifth place. They are a tough team and also feel like they have something to prove here. 

Italy beat Croatia and will play Serbia for the gold. The Hungary-Serbia game was pretty amazing. Hungary had the lead for the entire game and then Serbia tied it late in the game and sent the game to overtime, where they prevailed.  So Hungary and Croatia will play for the bronze. 

The message here for our guys is to finish strong. We have come together a great deal in this tournament, improving in many areas as the tournament has progressed. It has been nice to watch. We all know that we have a great deal of work to do when we get home.  We will go home with the sense that we are close to the summit.

We all need to be committed through this next year and see how far we can go as a team. I believe that the Olympic gold is within reach. 

See you at the pool.

-- Terry Schroeder