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Women’s Water Polo team set to face USA in World Champ Quarter Finals

23 July 2017

WATER POLO: The Australian Women’s Water Polo team have booked their spot in the quarter finals of the FINA World Championships in Budapest, after a decisive 16-2 win over France.

The Aussie Stingers will now face arch rivals USA, who are the reigning Olympic and World Champions.

Aussie Stingers Head Coach Sakis Kechagias, said he was pleased how his new look team have come together throughout this tournament.

“I wouldn’t say that any game is easy at this level, but we thought of this game as a challenge, in which we came out on top,” said Kechagias.

“It’s nice to see some of the younger girls step up and show what they are capable of doing, score some goals and make good decisions.

“There’s obviously a huge rivalry between us and the USA because of certain games that we played in the past. They are the reigning champions so it’s going to be a really hard game for us. They’re in top condition at the moment,” he said.

One of those junior players who has stepped up is Maddy Steere, who said the solid win today will give the Aussie Stingers a boost ahead of their most challenging game ahead, USA.

“Feels great to secure our spot in the top eight. We got a good win over France so that has given us a lot of confidence to go our game in two days time against America,” said Steere.

“We are hoping to take the good things from today, work on the things we need to fix and really take it to America in our quarter final,” she said.

The Australians were the clear stand out against France, taking an impressive 9-0 lead at half time. While France were afforded opportunities at goals in the first half, Lea Yanitsas was once again strong in goals, blocking all attempts.

It wasn’t until three minutes into the third quarter that the French got on to the scoreboard. The Aussies managed only one goal in the third as well as courtesy of Zoe Arancini, the leading goal scorer for the Aussies throughout the match.

The Aussie Stingers got off to a quick goal in the fourth quarter with Buckling driving left, receiving the cross pass and scoring to take the Aussies 11-1. Lilian Hedges was in goals for the Aussie Stingers and was able to keep up the Aussies defensive efforts to stop the French attack.

Aussie Stingers Lena Mihailovic, who broke bones in her hand at the Kunshan Cup in China before the World League Super Final, had played just three minutes this week and entered the pool and scored from the deep left. Halligan snared her third goal with a turning centre-forward goal.

France weren’t done though with a missile from eight metres into the top right. But with another two goals from Arancini along with a nice bounce shot from Morgan Baxter, the Aussie Stingers came home strong to leave no doubt of their spot in the top eight.

Australia will now take on USA in the quarter final of the Budapest FINA World Championships on Tuesday 25 July, 12:10am AEST (Monday 24 July, 4:10pm, local).

Water Polo Australia

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