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WATER POLO JR. WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS : U.S. Misses Medal Round

The United States lost its chance for a medal in the Junior World Water Polo Championships Thursday night when Hungary lost to Spain, 6-4, at Newport Harbor High.

The United States needed the combination of a six-goal victory over Bulgaria and a Spanish defeat to earn a spot in this weekend’s medal round.

Rallying from a one-goal deficit in the first quarter, the United States defeated the Bulgarians, 14-8, only to have the Spaniards defeat Hungary.

Spain finished second-round play with a 2-0-1 record and will face Yugoslavia (2-1) in one semifinal Saturday at Corona Del Mar High. Hungary (2-1) will face Cuba (3-0) in the other semifinal.

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The United States finished second-round play with a 1-1-1 record.

Chris Oeding, Chi Kredell and Zach Holder each scored four goals in the Americans’ victory over Bulgaria.

Cuba, 5-0 overall in the tournament, upset favored Yugoslavia, 7-6.

“Any tournament we play, we expect to win the gold medal,” Yugoslavia Coach Pavle Vicevic said before the match. “This is a very disciplined team, so I don’t think the distractions will bother us.”

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But one distraction has cost Vicevic four starters: the Serbo-Croatian conflict.

Six Croatian players were pulled from the junior squad last month after fighting broke out between ethnic Serbs, backed by the Yugoslavian army, and the Croats, who recently declared independence.


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