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U.S. ties European champion

July 15, 2003

UC Irvine graduate Ryan Bailey nearly provided the heroics, but the

U.S. men's national water polo team was forced to settle for a 5-5

tie against 2003 European champion Serbia and Montenegro in its first

game of the 10th FINA World Championships in Barcelona, Spain.

Bailey scored off a backhand shot with under 10 seconds remaining

in the match, but an offensive foul negated the score and the U.S.

was forced to settle for the tie.

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"The call probably could have gone either way," Bailey said in a

release on usawaterpolo.com. "But looking at the ejection count

(9-SMN, 5-USA), we didn't get many chances from the referees today

anyway. It's disappointing. I think we probably deserved to win that

game. We played better than the other team, but what can you do?"

Bailey, the 2002 USA water polo player of the year, did help in

other ways, drawing an ejection at set just before the half to set up

a man-advantage situation and a goal by Wolf Wigo and leading the

U.S. team with four steals.

Another former UC Irvine standout, Jeff Powers, scored in the

third quarter, tying the score 4-4. Also playing on the team from UC

Irvine are Omar Amr, who had an assist, Dan Klatt and Genai Kerr.

The U.S. returns to the pool Thursday against Japan.

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