World Cup bronze for Australian Women's Water Polo Team
10 September 2018
WATER POLO: The Australian Women's Water Polo team have capped off their FINA World Cup campaign in style with a thrilling 9-8 win over Spain to clinch the bronze medal on Monday morning.
After drawing to the Spaniards during the preliminary rounds of the tournament, the match looked to be in for another close encounter and went down to the dying seconds.
A big save in goals from a young Gabi Palm in the final five seconds of the game was enough to see the Australians finish on the podium.
Captain Rowie Webster led her side from in front with an impressive five goal haul, two crucial goals coming in the final quarter which got the Aussies across the line and saw her take home the ‘Most Valuable Player’ for the match.
The goal shooting efforts were further supported by Olympians Bron Knox, Keesja Gofers and Hannah Buckling who demonstrated how experience counts during the big moments of the game.
Australia opened the scoring early in the match to set up a nice 2-0 lead at the end of the first quarter. But Spain came out to dominate the second quarter and put four goals on the scoreboard to lock the score 4-4 at half time.
The second half the Aussies came out strong, their defensive efforts shutting down much of Spain's counter attack. At the end of the third they had a one goal lead 7-6.
The final quarter was reminiscent of the preliminary match between the two sides and it looked like the game was headed for a penalty shoot out. Scores were deadlocked twice throughout the final quarter, but two goals from captain Rowie Webster along with strong defence from the Aussies was enough to secure the win and bronze medal.
Veteran Aussie Stingers player Bronte Halligan said to the team were excited to once more be back on the podium.
"A bronze medal game is always a tricky one, coming off a loss the day before, but we are super excited to come away with the win.
"We have had a long tour and then a week long tournament, so it nice to be able to see the team step up in a big game and get that win," she said.
Winning the bronze over Spain was the redemption the Aussie Stingers were looking for having gone down to them by one goal earlier this year at the FINA World League Final.
Amy Rydge said the team knew what Spain were capable of delivering and they were eager to step up to deliver the result.
"We played Spain a lot this year, earlier in the World League Finals, then again in Spain when we were there for a training camp and earlier in this tournmanet when we drew with them, so it was good to finally get a win when it counts.
"This result has been a long time coming, we have seen the team progress so much since Sakis (Head Coach) came in at the beginning of this (Olympic) cycle.
"It's a very exciting time for the team," she said.
The FINA World Cup wraps up the 2018 international season for the Aussie Stingers, with players now set to return to their Clubs to prepare for the 2019 OVO Australian Waterpolo League. Several players have secured international club contracts and will now move into those respective competitions as well.
Full World Cup results are avaiable HERE.
AUS 9 vs ESP 8
Qtr time scores: 0-2, 4-2, 2-3,2-2
Extra Man: ESP 3/6, AUS 6/8
MVP of the bronze match: Rowie Webster (AUS)
AUSTRALIA: Lilian Hedges, Keesja Gofers (1), Hannah Buckling (1), Bronte Halligan, Isobel Bishop, Bronwen Knox (2), Rowie Webster (5), Amy Ridge, Zoe Arancini, Morgan Baxter, Gabriella Palm.
Water Polo Australia