July 6, 1999
Palma de Mallorca, Spain - Team USA's water polo delegation advanced out of the first round Tuesday despite losing to Yugoslavia 9-8 in a close game, leaving the U.S. with a 1-2 record at the World University Games.
Brad Kittredge claimed the game's high scoring award with three goals. Team captain Layne Beaubien punched in with two, and Brent Albright, Ryan Flynn and Sean Kern (UCLA/Honolulu, Hawaii) each finished with one. U.S. goalie Merrill Moses notched seven saves, much to the dismay of the largely Yugoslavian and highly enthusiastic crowd.
"The loss was disappointing because we played well enough to win," said Kittredge. "We should've won but we had a mental lapse and stopped thinking." He was referring to the fourth quarter, when, up 7-6, the U.S. "thought the game was a lock." Yugoslavia rallied to even the game 7-7 at 3:31 and bounced past the U.S. with two more goals at 2:34 and 1:47.
Although not enough to win the game, Team USA's Beaubien answered with a last-second goal at 0:02, when the Yugoslav goalie was ejected for a brutality foul.
"We just didn't take advantage of enough opportunities in the beginning," assistant coach Joe O'Brien pointed out. "I thought we played pretty well - but we gave them the right shots and they hit them."
The top three teams in each of four brackets advance to the second round. Buoyed by their Sunday win against Kazakhstan, the U.S. advanced to a second-round bracket and will face France on Wednesday at UIB.