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Pacific water polo players selected for Olympic competition

Two Pacific water polo All-Americans will represent their respective countries in the upcoming 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, as Alex Obert `16 was named to the United States men’s water polo roster and Balázs Erdélyi `14 will represent Hungary.

The duo were teammates at Pacific, helping the Tigers reach the NCAA National Championship game in 2013.

Alex Obert
Alex Obert will represent Team USA.
Photo by Mari Jo Prlain

Obert, who has been a member of the 17-team US National Team since 2014, was announced as part of the 13-player traveling squad for the Olympic Games beginning in August.

With Team USA, he scored four goals in six games at the FINA World League Super Final in China last month, including a goal in the semifinals against Greece (in a 17-16 shootout win) and the Finals against Serbia, a 10-6 loss as the United States settled for silver.

Obert was a three-time All-American and the third Tiger in Pacific history to be named a finalist for the Peter J. Cutino Award, as he was one of three players in the country up for the most prestigious water polo award following his senior year in 2015-16.

He wrapped up his Pacific career tied for ninth on the all-time scoring list with 157 goals. Obert was also an ACWPC First Team All-American, First Team All-MPSF honors and MPSF All-Academic accolades as a senior in 2015, as he scored 54 goals with 10 assists. He finished 10th in MPSF in scoring with 1.93 goals per game, and scored in 27 of 28 games with 18 multi-goal games for Pacific.

Balázs Erdélyi
Balázs Erdélyi will represent Team Hungary
Photo by Kim Pitcock

Erdélyi is Pacific's most decorated men's water polo player and will represent his home country as the Hungarian Water Polo Federation announced its 13-member squad Monday.

A native of Eger, Hungary, Erdélyi wrapped up his Pacific career as a senior in 2013-14 with a second-straight Peter J. Cutino Award. At Pacific, he won every major honor at least once in his career: All-Conference, MPSF Player of the Year, NCAA Championship Most Valuable Player, Freshman All-American, MPSF Freshman of the Year, All-American, Peter J. Cutino Award, and ACWPA NCAA Player of the Year.

Erdelyi and Obert led the Tigers to their best season in program history in 2013, as Pacific went 23-5 with the MPSF regular season title and the program's second-ever NCAA berth. The Tigers advanced to the NCAA Championship game before falling to six-time champion USC in overtime. With a modern-era record of seven goals in the NCAA title game,Erdélyi was named Most Valuable Player of the 2013 NCAA Collegiate Men's Water Polo Championship.

Since leaving Pacific following the 2013-14 season, Erdélyi has played both professionally and for Team Hungary. 

Hungary and the United States have been drawn into separate groups for the first round of the 2016 Summer Olympic competition. Group A consists of Hungary, world league champion Serbia, Greece, host Brazil, Australia and Japan. Group B consists of world league runner-up United States, Spain, France, Montenegro, Italy and Croatia.

The six teams in each of two groups will play a round-robin schedule from August 6-14, with the top four in each group advancing to the eight-team knockout stage (August 16-20). Hungary and the USA would not meet before the knockout stages.

Pacific men’s water polo has been ranked in the Top 10 of the national polls in every poll since Erdélyi arrived at Pacific in 2009.