The Aussie Stingers win silver at the FINA World Championships (Pic Ian MacNicol)

Women - 2013 FINA World C'Ships Wk 2: Silver Stingers

03.08.2013

They were brave, they were gallant and they were gracious. But Australia's women's water polo team, the Aussie Stingers, have fallen at the final hurdle succumbing to the brilliant play of Spain 8-6 in the women's gold medal match at the FINA World Championships in Barcelona.

The Aussies started slowly, suffering from a bout of pre-match jitters, and never recovered as they handed Spain an early buffer with three extra-man goals. Their extra player defence torn apart!

Australia rallied and was within touching distance at 2-3 and 3-4, before Spain's determination in front of their packed home crowd told as they leapt out to a 3-6 lead.

The Stingers weren’t without their chances and continued to threaten but Spain’s keeper Laura Ester and skipper Jennifer Pareja were inspirational – creating the game breaking plays at both ends of the pool.

Spain now boasts a first women’s world championship title and becomes the first nation to win the gold medal on home soil. Australia settles for the silver, but by no means is it a failure.

The Stingers secure Australia’s highest finish at the world championships since Melbourne in 2007, record their best result on foreign soil since the inaugural gold medal victory in 1986, and collect Australia’s second silver and fourth medal in the history of the world titles.

Coach Greg McFadden was disappointed by the final result, but gave full credit to Spain and praised his girls for a wonderful tournament and earmarked a great future for them given their three month preparation.

“While we didn't come away with the result we wanted today we are very proud of the girls. It was a very tough game. Spain played very well, their keeper had an outstanding game and we couldn't convert our opportunities,” McFadden said.

“Our defence was very good and that's what we've been working on, but Spain has been together for three years, they've won a world junior championship, they played in the gold medal final at the Olympics and they're a very experienced team and are used to playing in this hostile environment.

“For our girls, they’ve only been together three months and it’s been a fantastic effort so we can hold our heads high and are very proud of everyone.”

Flash is required!

Rowie Webster, who scored a crucial goal in the second term and was selected in the team of the tournament, said it was a tough loss to take but said the future was bright for the team.

“It was tough game and we had the crowd against us. We had our opportunities but we missed out on them. We won bronze at the Olympics and silver here so we are now ready to fight for the gold at the next competition,” Webster said.

Zoe Arancini, Glencora McGhie,  Ashleigh Southern, Holly Lincoln-Smith, Isobel Bishop and Webster all scored singles in the loss, with McGhie, Lincoln-Smith and Arancini named amongst Australia’s better players.

Webster was joined in the All Star team by Ester and Pareja – who were the goalkeeper and MVP of the tournament – while Hungary wrapped up the bronze medal with a 10-8 win over Russia.

Australia’s attention now turns the Aussie Sharks, whose final game of the tournament is a seventh versus eighth showdown against Serbia which starts at 11pm tonight AEST.

Click here for Official FINA Media Report

Click here for the Official FINA Tournament Wrap

Click here for the Official FINA scorecard

Click here for 2013 FINA World C'ship - Aussie Stingers image gallery

Aussie Stingers

Lea Barta, Jayde Appel, Hannah Buckling, Holly Lincoln Smith, Isobel Bishop, Bronwen Knox, Rowie Webster, Glencora McGhie, Zoe Arancini, Ashleigh Southern, Keesja Gofers, Nicola Zagame, Kelsey Wakefield

Result: Australia 6 bt Spain 8

Quarters: 1-2, 2-3, 1-1, 2-2

X Man for:  TBA                          

X Man against: TBA

AUS scorers:  H Lincoln-Smith, I Bishop, R Webster, G McGhie, A Southern, Z Arancini

Best players: G McGhie, H Lincoln-Smith, Z Arancini

Semi-final: Aussie eye off gold against Spain

Coach Greg McFadden and the Aussie Stingers have continued their merry dance at the FINA World Championships in Barcelona defeating Russia 9-6 in their semi-final to progress to the gold medal match where they will take on hosts Spain.

Despite a slow start the Stingers assumed control in the second term to lead 4-3 at half time and never looked back as they thwarted Russia’s counter attack to qualify for their first world championship decider since Melbourne in 2007.

The victory brings back memories of the 2007 semi-final where the Greg McFadden led Stingers defeated Russia 12-9 en route to their silver medal finish behind the USA.

The gold medal final now pits the bronze and silver medallists from the 2012 London Olympics, with Spain sure to prove a tough test for the Australians having bundled out Olympic champions the USA in the quarter-finals.

An ecstatic McFadden was pleased with his team’s overall performance praising their ability to shut down Russia’s free flowing game and said he was excited by the challenge of facing Spain in the final.

“Russia are a very counter attacking team and we knew if we got into a swimming contest with them we would come off second best so we played a very controlled gamed which we did very well in the second, third and fourth quarters,” McFadden said.

“We talked about concentrating on quick movements on the attack and that let us to score three backhand goals.

“We are in the gold medal match now and it's been a great journey and it would be awesome to beat Spain in front of their home crowd as it would be a tremendous atmosphere.”

Flash is required!

Russia controlled the opening quarter through goals to Evgeniya Ivanova and Ekaterina Prokofyeva, split only by a Nicola Zagame goal at centre forward for Australia’s first.

The Stingers rebounded in the second with a goal to Zoe Arancini, followed by a second to Zagame in extra man before a counter attack conversion by Hannah Buckling saw the Stingers advance 4-3 at half time.

The Russians struck the first blow of the second half with Olga Beliaeva converting off a cross pass from four metres to level at 4-4, only for the Aussies to execute two superb backhanders from Rowie Webster and Zagame to steal the advantage at 6-4.

Russian skipper Ivanova converted on extra for 6-5 to keep her team in the contest, but when Webster lobbed keeper Anna Kanakh and Holly-Lincoln-Smith chimed in with her backhander the Stingers were on the charge.

Olga Belova made it 8-6 at 2:58 to keep the crowd enthused, but it was no more than a consolation as Webster popped the ball for Ashleigh Southern who slipped across the two metres to take it on her left and fire it home for the winner.

Zagame finished the game with three goals, and Webster with two, with Arancini, Buckling, Lincoln-Smith and Southern all bagging singles. Keeper Kelsey Wakefield was relentless down back playing her best game of the tournament.

Southern said it was a great feeling to win the semi-final after last year’s heartbreak against the USA and emphasised the Stingers great play to deny the Russian’s their opportunities.

“It’s an amazing feeling being in the final, because we lost in the semi-finals last year to the USA at the Olympics, so we really wanted to come out here and play for the world championship. Today we tried to stop their counter attack, taking player by player, so it was very hard but it was great to get the result.”

The Stingers gold medal final against Spain will be at 615am on Saturday morning AEST, with the Australian men, the Aussie Sharks playing their 5th to 8th playoff against Greece at 11.30pm AEST tonight.

Click here for Official FINA Media Report

Click here for the Official FINA scorecard

Click here for 2013 FINA World C'ship - Aussie Stingers image gallery

Aussie Stingers

Lea Barta, Jayde Appel, Hannah Buckling, Holly Lincoln Smith, Isobel Bishop, Bronwen Knox, Rowie Webster, Glencora McGhie, Zoe Arancini, Ashleigh Southern, Keesja Gofers, Nicola Zagame, Kelsey Wakefield

Result: Australia 9 bt Russia 6

Quarters: 1-2, 3-1, 2-1, 3-2

X Man for:  TBA                          

X Man against: TBA

AUS scorers:  N Zagame 3, R Webster 2, H Buckling, H Lincoln-Smith, Z Arancini, A Southern

Best players: K Wakefield, N Zagame, G McGhie, B Knox, R Webster, H Lincoln-Smith

Quarter-final: Aussies ease past Greece for place in semis

Australia’s women’s water polo team, the Aussie Stingers, have booked their place in the semi-finals of the FINA World Championships with an emphatic 9-5 victory over defending champions Greece on day nine in Barcelona, Spain.

The Stingers unleashed their trademark physical defence from the opening whistle and never looked back as they built upon a 3-1 first quarter to seal their first world championship semi-final since 2007.

They will now face Russia who eased past Canada 17-9 in their quarter-final.

London 2012 heroes Bronwen Knox, Rowie Webster, Glencora McGhie and Ashleigh Southern all scored twice in the victory, with skipper Knox particularly pleased with her team’s determination in defence.

“I couldn't be happier with our team effort. We had such a great defence and we really worked to the finish,” Knox said.

"We will now play Russia which will be a very tough game. I haven't been in a world championship semi-final since 2007 and lot of these girls haven't been in one so it will be a new experience, but one we are very excited about.”

The Stingers began swiftly with goals to Southern, Webster and McGhie, before extending that margin to 4-2 at half time.

Their lead should have been more, such was Australia’s early domination, but missed opportunities and a failure to convert on the counter afforded Greece an avenue back.

A goal to Greece early in the third had the score at 4-3, but timely replies by Southern and Knox saw Australia extend their advantage to 6-4 at the last break.

Quick fire goals to Knox, Webster and young gun Jayde Appel early in the fourth had Australia on the front foot, and despite a late strike to Greece, the Stingers were able to coast to the line for their fifth win of the campaign.

Flash is required!

Coach Greg McFadden was ecstatic with his team’s defensive pressure early in the match and said things were progressing nicely ahead of their semi-final showdown with Russia.

"We started really well and everything we spoke about in defence before the game we achieved, so overall I was very pleased with our defensive performance and our extra man defence was excellent," McFadden said.

"In attack we kind of lost our way in the second quarter and I thought we should have been further ahead at half time, but the girls kept at it in the third term and then in the fourth Bron scored, then Rowie and Jayde and that was the end of the game.

"Now we are in the heart of the competition and the semi-finals will be tough and we’ll reach the real high level of the tournament. We are one of the favourites, but not the favourite. We want the gold medal just like the other teams.”

Australia’s semi-final clash against Russia is at 415am on Thursday morning, with host’s Spain taking on Hungary in the other semi, having taking out Olympic champions USA 9-6 in the day’s final match. Australia’s men’s team, the Aussie Sharks, will play their quarter-final versus Croatia at 1am tomorrow morning.

Click here for Official FINA Media Report

Click here for the Official FINA scorecard

Click here for 2013 FINA World C'ship - Aussie Stingers image gallery

Aussie Stingers

Lea Barta, Jayde Appel, Hannah Buckling, Holly Lincoln Smith, Isobel Bishop, Bronwen Knox, Rowie Webster, Glencora McGhie, Zoe Arancini, Ashleigh Southern, Keesja Gofers, Nicola Zagame, Kelsey Wakefield

Result: Australia 9 bt Greece 5

Quarters: 3-1, 1-1, 2-2, 3-1

X Man for: TBA                           

X Man against: TBA

AUS scorers: B Knox 2, R Webster 2, G McGhie 2, A Southern 2, J Appel

Best players: B Knox, R Webster, G McGhie, K Wakefield

Quarter-final Qualifier: Goal fest for Aussies against Uzbekistan

Australia's women's water polo team, the Aussie Stingers, have progressed through to the last eight of the FINA World Championships with a convincing 25-2 demolition of Uzbekistan in their quarter-final qualifier on day seven from Barcelona, Spain.

The Stingers' continued their scoring prowess netting 25 goals from 39 attempts to add to their 45 goals totalled against New Zealand, China and South Africa during the group stage.

The win sets up a quarter-final showdown against reigning world champions Greece who defeated Italy 13-12 in a match deciding penalty shootout.

A pleased Greg McFadden said the result gave him an ideal opportunity to rotate the bench and fine tune the Stingers’ play ahead of the quarter-finals.

“I am obviously very glad with this big victory and the way we played, even though we can still learn to be more patient to finish our actions. Reaching the quarterfinals was only a first step in this competition. We are very ambitious and we came here to gain at least a medal and why not the gold medal? Now the serious things start,” McFadden said.

Australia began swiftly jumping out to a 6-0 lead at quarter time via three centre forward goals to London Olympians Holly Lincoln-Smith and captain Bronwen Knox and neat conversions from Zoe Arancini and Rowie Webster.

World championship newcomers Hannah Buckling and Isobel Bishop continued the momentum in the second taking the score to 11-1 with Buckling firing home two goals on her way to a game high six.

The goals kept flowing in the third with the Stingers adding another five to their total with Lincoln-Smith and Knox again causing havoc on the two metres, before the game was blown open in the fourth with a scintillating nine goal feast.

Jayde Appel, Ashleigh Southern and Keesja Gofers all added their names to the scorer’s list with Buckling taking full advantage of Uzbekistan’s tired defence to rattle home her fifth and sixth of the game.

Flash is required!

Ashleigh Southern, who powered home two more late in the piece, said it was satisfying to produce a clinical four quarter performance and was excited about the Stingers’ quarter-final against Greece.

“The team really concentrated on going back to the basics and we were trying to execute our counter attack because we had a bit of trouble in that department in the last few days. But we definitely played very well today and we're looking forward to the next game,” Southern said.

Australia’s clash against Greece is at 1am AEST early on Tuesday, with the Aussie Sharks men’s elimination game against Germany at 5.30am tomorrow morning.

Click here for Official FINA Media Report

Click here for the Official FINA scorecard

Click here for 2013 FINA World C'ship - Aussie Stingers image gallery

Aussie Stingers

Lea Barta, Jayde Appel, Hannah Buckling, Holly Lincoln Smith, Isobel Bishop, Bronwen Knox, Rowie Webster, Glencora McGhie, Zoe Arancini, Ashleigh Southern, Keesja Gofers, Nicola Zagame, Kelsey Wakefield

Result: Australia 25 bt Uzbekistan 2

Quarters: 6-0, 5-1, 5-1, 9-0

X Man for: Australia scored 3 from 4 and 2 from 2 penalties   

X Man against: Uzbekistan scored 0 from 2 and 1 from 1 penalty

AUS scorers: H Buckling 6, H Lincoln-Smith 3, I Bishop 3, B Knox 3, Z Arancini 3, A Southern 3, R Webster 2, K Gofer, J Appel

Best players: Z Arancini, H Buckling, H Lincoln-Smith