Winning farewell for Smith as Stingers defeat USA

26 May 2014

WATER POLO: Retiring Australian women’s water polo player, London Olympic bronze medallist Sophie Smith, has finished her career as a champion scoring a pivotal goal in the Aussie Stingers thrilling 7-5 victory over the USA in the gold medal final of the 2014 FINA World League Intercontinental Cup in Riverside, California. 

In a career spanning 10 years, 173 test caps for Australia, and a handful of international medals including bronze at the 2012 London Olympics, the 28-year-old Queenslander went out as a winner, netting a crucial goal in the third quarter to set up Australia’s two-goal victory. 

The Stingers began strongly with the combination of Keesja Gofers and dual Olympic bronze medallist Gemma Beadsworth paying dividends as Australia built a 3-1 lead at the first break. 

The second and third quarters saw a tough exclusion count work against the Stingers, who came under pressure from the USA. Despite this, Ashleigh Southern and woman of the moment Smith turned over goals to hand Australia a 5-3 lead. 

The hosts responded with a pair of goals via Kami Craig and Jill Kraus, only for captain Rowie Webster to power home with eight seconds remaining to give Australia a 6-5 lead at the final break. 

The vocal home crowd lifted the intensity of the game as the US pressed for the equaliser early in the fourth. Aussie keeper Kelsey Wakefield held firm keeping the USA scoreless, and when Beadsworth netted her third with 1.48 left on the clock, Australia’s margin was back out to two. 

US coach Adam Krikorian called a timeout with 45 seconds remaining, but it was to little avail as Wakefield continued the fourth quarter shutout, to hand Australia a memorable victory. 

The Stingers now return home for a brief rest, before eyeing off further success at the FINA World League Finals in China, starting on June 10. 

Result: Australia 7 bt USA 5             Quarters: 3-1, 1-2, 2-2, 1-0       Australian Scorers: G Beadsworth 3, R Webster 2, A Southern, S Smith

Water Polo Australia

Related News

Sam’s the man with stirring sixth in 25km debut

Sam’s the man with stirring sixth in 25km debut

2 August 2015

Sam Sheppard has finished his FINA World Championship open water campaign with a fast finishing sixth in the gruelling 25km on Kazan’s Kazanka River.

Strong showing from Australia in springboard final

Strong showing from Australia in springboard final

2 August 2015

Australian diver Esther Qin has finished fourth in the Chinese-dominated final of the 3-metre springboard at the World Aquatic Championships in Kazan.

Disappointing start for Australia at Asian Championships

Disappointing start for Australia at Asian Championships

1 August 2015

The Australian men’s volleyball team has made a disappointing start to the Asian Championships in Tehran, losing to Qatar in four sets.