Medal Hopes Still Alive Despite Water Polo Losses Today
Aug. 4, 2012
Team USA took its first loss of group play today, while Australia's future depends on its next game after today's defeat. Both squads boast Trojans as impact players, and both had tough matchups today (Aug. 4) in London with one more group game left apiece to determine medal dreams.
Australia's goalkeeping corps is entirely Trojan, with four-time All-American Joel Dennerley the starting goalie for the Aussies today and incoming Trojan James Clark tabbed with the second half of action in a tough match against Croatia. Despite the defensive efforts of Trojans Dennerley and Clark, Australia came up short against the Croatians in an 11-6 loss. Australia holds two points in group play with a crucial final group match against Greece coming next. The winner of the game will advance to the quarterfinals for a shot at advancing to a guaranteed place in the medal rounds. That vital Australia-Greece matchup is set for 3:20 a.m. PT on Aug. 6.
A four-time national champion and the recipient of the 2011-12 Peter J. Cutino Award as the nation's top collegiate player in his senior season at USC, goalie Joel Dennerley is playing in his first Olympic Games. While anchoring USC's run to a historic four straight NCAA titles, Dennerley emerged as the Trojans' all-time leader in career saves. He is the first-ever goalie to win the Cutino Award on the men's side, and also claimed back-to-back honors as the MPSF Player of the Year -- also a first for a goalie. For his native Australia, Dennerley was called up to compete in the 2010 FINA World Cup and 2011 FINA World Championships and was recently named Australia Water Polo Inc.'s Male Player of the Year.
Team USA, who has another first-time Trojan Olympian in Shea Buckner, is already guaranteed a place in the quarterfinals thanks to a strong three-win start to group play. Today, the U.S. squad went up against a talented team from Serbia, who took an early lead and notched an 11-6 win over the Americans. Buckner has been a mainstay in the U.S. lineup, having scored his first Olympic goals two days ago in a win over Great Britain. Already holding six points for a solid hold in group play, Team USA wraps up the group against Hungary at 7:30 a.m. PT on Aug. 6.
A 2008 and 2009 NCAA Champion and a three-time All-American at USC, Shea Buckner is making his Olympic debut this year in London. His call-up to Team USA has taken him most recently to international appearances at the 2011 and 2012 FINA World League Super Finals as he now prepares to compete in the 2012 Olympic Games. Buckner played three seasons at USC, helping anchor the Trojans' undefeated finish in 2008, which kick-started USC's historic run to four consecutive national championships.
Follow all the Trojan Olympians in their quests for Olympic gold at www.usctrojans.com/london2012