Aussies narrowly defeated by USA in quarter finals World Championships
25 July 2017
WATER POLO: Overnight Australian Women’s Water Polo team have suffered a narrow 5-7 loss to reigning World and Olympic Champions USA in the quarter finals of the FINA World Championships in Budapest, Hungary.
The Aussies came into the game the underdogs but delivered a gutsy performance and kicked off their campaign for Tokyo 2020 well.
Strong defence from both sides saw no goals in the game in the first twelve minutes, which is rare in any water polo game especially when that game features USA Women’s team who are tipped to take out the title.
In the middle of the second quarter USA woke up and took a 3-0 lead to half time with two goals. By half time the rain had set in for the match.
At the start of the third quarter USA came out strong but the Aussie Stingers ‘never say die’ attitude and determination to control in the game, threw the USA off their momentum.
Keesja Gofers got the Aussies on to the scoreboard first with a nice goal in extra man.
While the USA were quick to counter, it was Gofers again during extra man to put her team within striking distance of USA. One final goal from USA, after a rebound from Lea Yanitsas save, saw the Aussies trailing 2-5 at the end of the third.
It was Gofers again in extra man that opened the scoring in the final quarter for the Aussie Stingers with five minutes remaining in the game. But again USA countered in extra man to have scores 3-6.
A questionable decision from the referee saw the USA again score to stretch their lead to 3-7. But once more Gofers was on fire and capitlised during extra man to trail by just three.
Penalty earned by the Aussie Isobel Biship saw Captain Rowie Webster convert the goal to bring the score up to 5-7 with a minute and half left in the quarter.
But as both teams kicked their defensive arsenal into gear the Aussies were forced to settle for the 5-7 score line.
Rio Olympian Keesja Gofers was the leading goal scorer for the Aussie Stingers with an impressive four goals.
“We are really disappointed. We came here as underdogs, but we never stop fighting,” said Gofers.
“The USA came up as the better team, and I wish them good luck in the semifinals.
“As a water polo player you can expect anything, bugs, rain, or anything else. We had to deal with what comes our way, as the other team had. I shot four goals, but it would’ve been better to shoot two more,” she said.
For her fellow Rio Olympics teammate Zoe Arancini, she celebrated her 200th cap for Australia.
“It was fantastic to play my 200th game for Australia today. While the loss against the USA is very disappointing we’re very proud of ourselves, we took it to them all the way and we can only go up from here,” she said.
Water Polo Australia