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Bronze-Medal Round Leaves Team USA Water Polo in Fourth
By: UCLA Athletics

July 12, 1999

Palma de Mallorca, Spain - The U.S. water polo team fell to Hungary in the bronze-medal round at the World University Games Monday night, 13-7. The loss puts the U.S. in fourth behind its Hungarian opponent, in third, champion team Spain and silver-medal team Italy.

"I'm really glad we made the medal round," said team captain Layne Beaubien, "but fourth is a pretty hard place to fall - it's bittersweet."

Hungary took an early lead in the first quarter, marching up to three points at 5:40, 4:08 and 3:30 before Beaubien recorded Team USA's first goal at 2:54 during a man-up opportunity. The U.S. made up lost ground in the quarter's last minute, shrinking Hungary's advantage to one point with two more goals - another one by Beaubien at 0:57 and one by Adam Wright (UCLA/Seal Beach, Calif.) at 0:09.

At 4:33 in the second quarter, Hungary added one to their total with a successful penalty shot. Brian Heifferon answered with Team USA's fourth point. But Hungary didn't let the U.S. stay so close, and pulled away to a two-point lead at 0:46.

The second half was not kind to the U.S. While Heifferon tallied the first goal of the third quarter at 6:47 after Hungary failed to even try for the opening ball, Hungary proceeded to follow-up with four goals at 6:25, 6:00, 5:17 and 4:33. Ryan Flynn scored the U.S.' sixth goal at 1:45, breaking Hungary's streak, but they still pushed their total to 11 with one last third-quarter goal at 0:31.

Both teams managed to score once more in the fourth quarter, bringing the total to 12-7, the same total as the first USA/Hungary match in the WUG's first bracket. Apparently the novelty of that factoid was lost on Hungary, because they slipped one more ball past goalie Merrill Moses in the last 11 seconds of the game to end it with an uneven 13-7.

Besides their performance against Hungary, Beaubien noted that "the thing that was good about us was that we won the games that we needed to win." Teams that defeated the U.S. in the first and second brackets did not necessarily place higher in the end. Cuba and Yugoslavia, in fifth and sixth, both enjoyed success over the U.S. during WUG play.

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