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13 June 2014

WATER POLO:The Australian women's water polo team are two wins from three at the FINA World League Super Finals in Kunshan, China.

GAME 3: Aussie Stingers fall a whisker short of tenth straight win

The Australian women’s water polo team have fallen a whisker shy of winning their tenth straight game, going down to Italy 11-10 in their final Group Stage match at the FINA World League Super Finals in Kunshan, China.
Leading by three with a quarter to play, Australia looked set to continue their winning streak that began against China at the BHP Billiton Aquatic Super Series in Perth in January, included six wins at the FINA World League Intercontinental Tournament in California last month and triumphs over Brazil and China the last two nights.
The Italians had other ideas however and despite a valiant attempt by the Stingers to hang on, Italy powered home on a wave of momentum with six goals in the final quarter to steal the win.
Despite the loss Australia are just three more victories away from a first ever World League title ahead of tomorrow night’s quarterfinals. They will learn who their opponent will be later tonight.
The Italians opened the match by nailing three extraman chances in the first term to lead 3-1 at quarter time, Australia’s goal a penalty at the hands of prolific scorer Rowie Webster.
In the second stanza Webster scored another, Glencora McGhie got her first and in the cage Kelsey Wakefield stopped an Italian penalty shot to see the Stingers trail by just one, 3-4 at the main break.
Then came a stunning third quarter Stingers blitz for the second straight night with goals to Ash Southern and Webster in extraman, a second strike to McGhie and first goals to captain Bronwen Knox and centre-forward Jayde Appel. That gave them an 8-5 advantage and a seemingly insurmountable lead.
The tide turned though and if it was one-way traffic for the Australians in the third it was even more so in the final quarter for Italy who converted four extraman opportunities to claim the win and top spot in the Group.
The Australians will be buoyed by their ability to string together long goal scoring runs but will also be keen to lower their expulsion count, minimising the opposition’s extra-player chances.

GAME 2: Australia def China 14-8

The Aussie Stingers, Australia’s women’s water polo team, have used a stunning six goal third quarter to set up a courageous 14-8 victory over host nation China at the FINA World League Super Finals in Kunshan.
In a spiteful group stage encounter that saw players from both sides ejected from the game, the Australians repelled everything the Chinese threw at them for their second win in as many nights.
The victory follows yesterday’s 12-5 dismantling of an improving Brazilian side.
With the boisterous local crowd spurring them on the Chinese scored the opening two goals of the match before Australia fought back with three straight strikes – one to Rowie Webster and a pair to Ash Southern - only for the hosts to convert a penalty to even things at 3-all at the first break.
Webster and captain Bronwen Knox both scored in a very physical second term for Australia to lead 5-4 at halftime before the third quarter onslaught saw goals to Webster (two), Southern, Eliesha Browne, Hannah Buckling and Jayde Appel hand the Stingers an 11-5 lead with a quarter to play.
The pace and intensity of the game took its toll in the final stanza but both sides charged on, each scoring three goals, Australia’s haul including a fifth for Webster, a second to Buckling before she was fouled out for the last three minutes and one to Keesja Gofers.
The Australians play their third and final pool stage game tomorrow afternoon against Italy at 5pm AEST with the quarterfinals set down for Friday.

GAME 1: Australia def Brazil 12-5

The Australian women's water polo team began their quest for a first FINA World League title in style on Tuesday with a clinical 12-5 opening-game thumping of Brazil in China.

While they have won Olympic and world championship gold, the Aussie Stingers have never graced the top step of the podium at the 10 World League tournaments held so far.

The Australians entered the tournament in winning style, having beaten Olympic champions USA in their home pool at the Intercontinental Cup last month and carried that form into their clash with the hungry Brazilians, turning a 3-2 quarter-time lead into a 6-2 halftime advantage.

Led by skipper and dual Olympic bronze medallist Bronwen Knox and her teammates from London 2012, Rowie Webster and Glencora McGhie, the Stingers won the third period 3-2 and closed out the match with a 3-1 final term for the seven-goal victory.

Webster pocketed four goals including a second-half hat-trick, while Knox bagged a treble and Hannah Buckling a pair.

Australia play the second of their three Group B pool games on Wednesday at 9.30pm (AEST) against hosts and defending champions China and then face Italy the following day.

Canada, Spain, Russia and USA make up Group A.


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