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Superb silver at Women's Water Polo World Cup

18 August 2014

WATER POLO: Australia’s Rowie Webster has been named the player of the tournament at the 2014 FINA World Cup, despite the Australian Women’s water polo team, the Aussie Stingers, losing the final 10-6 to the USA in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia. 

Webster managed to score 16 goals throughout the tournament as she helped the Aussies to claim another silver medal, their second consecutive runners up accolade at a World Cup following a playoff against the USA in 2010. 

Despite the four goal deficit, the Aussies put on a show until the final moments, with captain Bron Knox and Glencora McGhie relentless in their attacking efforts as they attempted to bridge the gap to the USA. 

The Aussies opened the scoring for the game courtesy of Knox, however the USA replied with three extra man goals to lead 3-1 at the first break. 

With just 20 seconds gone in the second quarter, the USA extended their lead before Webster stepped up to score for the Stingers. The USA would score a further three, while World Championships Silver medallist Keesja Gofers added another for Australia, for 7-3 at half time. 

McGhie and Webster continued to fight hard in attack, both finding the back of the cage in the third term, bringing Australia to within three goals of the USA with a little over two minutes remaining. 

However the USA had other ideas, with their player Courtney Matthewson shooting a penalty goal, before Melissa Seidemann also found a way through the Aussie defence to have their side leading 10-5 at the final exchange. 

It was a tough final stanza and the Aussies stepped up their offence to chase the gold medal, while also holding the USA scoreless.  

Two exclusions against the USA saw McGhie come up with just one goal, the only one for the quarter as Webster, Knox and Ash Southern bombarded the US goalkeeper Samantha Hill with shooting attempts. 

Aussie Stingers coach Greg McFadden said he was happy with the efforts of the team, highlighting the improvement in their game over the course of the tournament. 

“It was a fantastic effort by the girls. They gave 100% and did not stop attacking right to the end of the game,” McFadden said.  

“The improvement during the course of this tour has been excellent. 

“We lost our exhibition game to Hungary prior to the tournament and now we have finished as silver medallists at World Cup.” 

The Silver medal caps off a successful international season for the Stingers, who downed the USA to claim gold at the FINA World League Intercontinental Cup in May. 

June saw the Aussies defeat China to win a bronze at the World League Super Final, the last major tournament prior to the World Cup. Australia defeated Russia in the quarter-finals and Spain in the semis to reach the gold medal game.

The team will depart Russia on Monday August 18, returning to Australia on Tuesday August 19. 

Aussie Stingers:

L Hedges, J Appel, H Buckling, B Colenso, I Bishop, B Knox, R Webster, G McGhie, Z Arancini, A Southern, M Baxter, K Gofers, K Wakefield 

Result: USA 10 bt Australia 6 

Quarters: 1-3, 2-4, 2-3, 1-0 

X Man For: Australia scored 2 from 9 opportunities and 0 from 1 penalties 

X Man Against: USA scored 4 from 6 opportunities and 1 from 1 penalties 

AUS Scorers:  R Webster 2, G McGhie 2, B Knox, K Gofers 

Best Players: B Knox, R Webster, G McGhie

Australian Water Polo

Semi-final: Australia beat Spain to reach gold medal game 

WATER POLO: A controlled 8-2 victory over Spain in their semi final game at the 2014 FINA World Cup in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia, has seen the Australian Women’s water polo team, the Aussie Stingers progress to the gold medal game. 

The final will be a re match of the 2010 FINA World Cup after the USA beat China 11-4 to book their spot against Australia. 

Defence was a key for Australia as they limited Spain, the 2013 World Champions, to just two goals. Kelsey Wakefield was again the backbone of the Aussie defence, with saves at crucial moments late in the game. 

Captain Bronwen Knox led the attacking charge, opening the scoring for Australia on her way to three goals for the game. 

Glencora McGhie, and Rowie Webster both scored a double as Keesja Gofers also found the back of the cage in the dying seconds of the game. 

Knox scored the opening two goals in the first term, as Spain managed just one to be trailing 2-1 at the break. McGhie struck quickly in the second stanza to provide the Aussies with a two goal buffer at half time, the lead 3-1. 

Spain narrowed the gap early in the third quarter, only for Webster to respond before McGhie to shot her second from the left wing. With the final break all but upon them, Webster lobbed the ball from 20 metres out to score an unlikely goal on the buzzer. 

A penalty save by Wakefield and goals to Knox and Gofers in the fourth period sealed the win for the Aussies, and a place in the gold medal game. 

Stingers player Jayde Appel said it was pleasing to beat Spain after losing to them at last years World Championships. 

“We had unfinished business with the Spanish team after last years World Championships but we were confident in our tactics and physicality to take on the Spanish,” Appel said. 

“They are a smaller and quicker team, however we executed our tactics really well tonight and were able to come away with a convincing win.” 

Aussie Stingers

L Hedges, J Appel, H Buckling, B Colenso, I Bishop, B Knox, R Webster, G McGhie, Z Arancini, A Southern, M Baxter, K Gofers, K Wakefield 

Result: Australia 8 def Spain 2 

Quarters: 2-1, 1-0, 3-1, 2-0 

AUS Scorers:  B Knox – 3, G McGhie, R Webster- 2, K Gofers - 1 

Best Players: G McGhie, B Knox, H Buckling, K Wakefield

Quarter-final: Australia grind out quarter final win against Russia

Following a tentative start to their quarter final game, the Australian women’s water polo team, the Aussie Stingers, have come away 10-8 winners over host nation Russia at the 2014 FINA World Cup in Khanty-Mansisyk.

A game against the hosts would always present as a difficult challenge, with Russia rising to the occasion in front of a home crowd to push Australia for the entirety of the encounter. 

Victorian Rowie Webster was dominant in attack for the Aussies, netting six goals in the victory, while teammate Ash Southern managed to score two. 

While Webster weaved her way around the Russian defence, Southern was instrumental in earning extra man opportunities for the Aussies at crucial points in the game. 

The Aussies opened the scoring, with Russia shadowing every move in the first term to see the scores locked at 2-2 come the first break. 

World Championships silver medallist Keesja Gofers completed a flawless swim off in the second quarter to win possession, then score to have the Stingers back in the lead. 

Australia momentarily trailed Russia during this period, however recovered to lead 5-4 at the main break. 

The play again fell the way of Australia in the third term as Zoe Arancini added her name to the scorers list for the Stingers to have an 8-6 advantage at the final break. 

The game tightened up in the fourth stanza with both sides scoring two goals. Thanks to a stronger middle two quarters the win fell the way of the Stingers. 

Australian assistant coach Predrag Mihailovic praised the effort of the senior players in steering the team to victory. 

“We looked a bit nervous early in the game and as a result there were some errors,” Mihailovic said. 

“The Russian crowd were very vocal and urged their team on. Russia rose to the excitement of the crowd and scored two goals off counter attack. 

“Our senior players eventually took control of the game and we came out winners.” 

The Stingers will now move onto the semi final where they will play against Spain for a position in the gold medal game. 

Result: Australia 10 def Russia 8

Quarters: 2-2, 3-2, 3-2, 2-2

X Man For: Australia scored 3 from 6 opportunities and 1 from 1 penalties

X Man Against: Russia scored 3 from 5 opportunities  

AUS Scorers:  R Webster - 6, A Southern – 2, Z Arancini, K Gofers- 1

Best Players: R Webster, G McGhie, B Knox, A Southern

Game 3 - Aussie outclass South Africa at water polo World Cup

WATER POLO: A clinical performance from the Australian women’s water polo team, the Aussie Stingers, has seen the team secure a 20-2 win over South Africa in their final game of the group stage at the 2014 FINA World Cup in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia. 

Olympic bronze medallists Glencora McGhie and Ash Southern as well as Stingers debutant Morgan Baxter led the charge for Australia, each scoring three goals, with McGhie sending a nine metre buzzer into the back of the cage at one point in the second quarter. 

Along with two goals, World Championships silver medallist Keesja Gofers was another standout, winning all four swim offs at the beginning of each quarter. 

It was a steady start to the game for the Stingers, who had a 4-0 advantage at the first break. Their lead extended to 9-1 at half time with eight players finding a gap to score. 

Australia continued to control the game in the second half with the score set at 14-1 come the final exchange. South Africa used a time out to effect to earn their second goal late in the game, however early dominance from Australia handed them the win. 

Stingers goalkeeper Lilian Hedges said that despite the score line, the team played well with solid defence throughout the game. 

“I was a little bit nervous at the start, it’s always a bit nerve wracking,” Hedges said. 

“Our communication was good, we played the way we wanted to play and we didn’t slack off in defence and the score shows that.” 

The Stingers will now take on host nation Russia in the quarter final round at 7pm AEST on Friday August 15. 

Quarters: 4-0, 5-1, 5-0, 6-1

X Man For: Australia scored 5 from 7 and 1/1 penalties

X Man Against: South Africa scored 1 from 2

AUS Scorers:  G Ralph 3, A Southern 3, M Baxter 3, J Appel 2, H Buckling 2, B Knox 2, Z Arancini 2, K Gofers 2, I Bishop 

Best Players: I Bishop, J Appel, K Gofers

Game 2 - Aussie women fall short against USA at World Cup

WATER POLO: A valiant effort against the USA at the FINA World Cup has seen the Australian women’s water polo team, the Aussie Stingers, come up short against the USA in an 8-6 loss in their second game of the tournament in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia. 

The Stingers were left behind at the beginning of the game, with the USA scoring two quick goals to build a gap that would inevitably prove to be catalyst for their win. 

Despite this, the Aussies fought back hard with goalkeeper Kelsey Wakefield again instrumental between the posts, while Bronte Colenso continued her good form on her first Stingers tour. 

Strong work in centre forward ensured London Olympics bronze medallist Rowie Webster scored three goals, two of which hauled the Stingers back into the game in the third term. 

World Championships silver medallists Jayde Appel and Keesja Gofers also scored, with Gofers goal offering Australia a chance at victory. 

The game started with the USA scoring twice in the first two minutes, as Australia failed to reply, instead defending hard to ensure the gap did not grow before the first break. 

Although the Stingers scored twice in the second, the USA managed to open up their lead with three goals to be leading 5-2 at half time.  

A strong third stanza saw both sides score twice, before Australia led the way in the final quarter, coming up short at the final whistle courtesy of their slower start. 

Stingers assistant coach Predrag Mihailovic praised the efforts of the team, lamenting that few mistakes cost the team victory. 

“It was a great effort by the team, they gave 100 percent,” said Mihailovic. 

“Unfortunately our execution was not as effective as we would like. There were a few mistakes and we had to play catch up all game.” 

Australia’s next game will be against South Africa at 8.30pm AEST on Thursday evening. 

Quarters: 0-2, 2-3, 2-2, 2-1 

X Man For: Australia scored 4 from 10 opportunities and 0/0 penalties 

X Man Against: USA scored 5 from 6 opportunities and 0/0 penalties 

AUS Scorers:  R Webster 3, J Appell, B Colenso, K Gofers 

Best Players: R Webster, K Wakefield, B Knox, B Colenso

Game 1 - Aussies win World Cup thriller against Hungary

WATER POLO: The Australian women’s water polo team, the Aussie Stingers, have taken a grueling 10-7 win over Hungary in their opening game of the FINA World Cup in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia.

In a game that was more akin to a final, the Aussies led the Hungarians for the majority of the encounter, losing the lead momentarily at the end of the third term.

Australian captain Bronwen Knox was at her finest, as was Victoria’s Rowie Webster with both players scoring three goals throughout the game.

In support of that attacking effort, Aussie goalkeeper Kelsey Wakefield put in an outstanding performance to hold out the Hungarian attack late in the game.

Australia opened the scoring within the first three minutes of the game, creating an early lead of 3-2 at the first break.

An equally close second quarter saw the Aussies maintain their one goal lead at half time, before Hungary had a strong third stanza to be ahead 7-6 at the final exchange. 

Despite trailing one of the world's best teams at the beginning of the fourth term, the Stingers were unfazed as they scored four unanswered goals to secure the victory.

Stingers coach Greg McFadden said the team had worked hard to pinpoint Hungary's weaknesses. 

“The girls did really well, we had previously had an unofficial game against Hungary where the team struggled, we had a few players battle injury and sickness as well," McFadden said.

“For today we had talked about where Hungary’s strengths were and we worked on the areas that they had previously been outplaying us.

“It was a great win where everyone contributed, and Kelsey was fantastic in goals.”

Australia’s next game will be against the USA and will be played at 10pm AEST.

Aussie Stingers:

L Hedges, J Appel, H Buckling, B Colenso, I Bishop, B Knox, R Webster, G McGhie, Z Arancini, A Southern, M Baxter, K Gofers, K Wakefield

Result: Australia 10 bt Hungary 7

Quarters: 3-2, 2-2, 1-3, 4-0

AUS Scorers: B Knox 3, R Webster 3, H Buckling, A Southern, M Baxter, K Gofers

X Man For: Australia scored 2 from 5 opportunities and 1 from 1 penalties

X Man Against: Hungary scored 3 from 7 opportunities and 1 from 1 penalties

AUS Best Players:  K Wakefield, B Knox, R Webster

Water Polo Australia