USA Men’s and Women’s Youth teams both pocketed gold medals at the recently completed UANA Junior Pan American Championships in Riverside, California. The women went largely unchallenged defeating silver medalists Brazil by five scores and winning their matches by an average of 15.
The men avenged a loss in last year’s competition held in Argentina where they fell to gold medalists Brazil in the tournament finale. The outcome was reversed this time as the Yanks overcame a 6-4 halftime deficit to earn a 10-9 victory.
Though the composition of the victorious women’s team remained entirely Californian except for Punahou HS (HI) goalkeeper Emalia Eichelberger, the men’s roster featured four from outside the state, twice as many as its 2013 version and likely the most ever. USA Water Polo, which is keen to promote its efforts to expand the national pool of talent, quickly released a slick video featuring the “rising stars” from Washington, Texas, Connecticut and Hawai’i. High Performance Director John Abdou emphasized the point with an unambiguous tweet linking the YouTube movie.
Based on the post-tournament statistics the non-“Cali” talent contributed significantly, tallying 36 goals over the course of the competition. A few statistical highlights from this and last year’s men’s tournaments:
- In 2014, non-Californians made up 27% of the men’s field players, but tallied 37% of the team’s goals.
- Bryce Hoerman of Cathedral Catholic High School in Del Mar, CA was named 2014 tournament MVP, but Greenwich, Connecticut’s Thomas Dunstan was the squad’s high scorer with 18 goals.
- Timothy Simenc of St. Mark’s in Dallas scored the most in one game in 2014: five versus Peru.
- Dunstan was the only non-Californian field player on the silver medalist 2013 squad and scored three goals in the tournament, contributing just over three percent of the team’s total output. (Mater Dei’s Kent Inoue scored nearly 34% of that team’s goals).