The Aussie Stingers first FINA World League Super Finals match against Netherlands ended in a close 5-7 defeat last night with the team looking to rebound quickly ahead of their second game against host nation China tonight.
Aussie Stingers goalkeeper Lilian Hedges kept her side in the match with some huge saves in goal. While the match was a close contest with only one to two goals in it, Netherlands kicked into gear in the third quarter to create a three-goal gap which could not be reeled in by Australia during the last quarter.
Leading goal scorer for the Aussies, Elle Armit took home the double and contested most plays to win some big steals for her team.
Morgan Baxter, Isobel Bishop and Bronwen Knox also contributed to the Aussies goals but it wasn’t enough to walk away with the win.
In their second pool match the Aussie Stingers will square off against China, a team renowned for their unique playing style.
Australia last played China in April at the FINA Intercontinental Cup in Auckland claiming a narrow 8-7 victory.
Aussie Stingers captain and recent Chinese training partner, Zoe Arancini, understands China more than most and will use that to her team’s advantage tonight.
“Their game plan hasn’t changed much. They rely heavily on their centre forward getting the ball and either scoring or drawing an exclusion – but the two or three outside shooters will also happily take shots and draw fouls.
“They’re not the best at defending drives and that is our natural game plan so hopefully we can stick to that and they’ll panic a bit,” she said.
Coming up against the host nation will mean a vocal crowd for Australia’s opponents at the Kunshan Sports Center.
“They usually draw a very good crowd and they’ll be out to prove a point against us especially after our close match in New Zealand.
“Our main goal is implementing our game plan that we’ve been working on over the last few months and just playing to the best of our ability,” she said.
Tune in when Australia versus China tonight from 9:30pm (AEST) either on FINAtv or match updates on Water Polo Australia’s twitter @WaterpoloAus.
Aussie Stingers FINA World League Super Finals fixtures for the pool stages (all times are AEST):
- Tuesday May 29, AUS vs China: 9:30pm
- Wednesday May 30, AUS vs Spain: 6:30pm
Aussie Stingers Team:
1. Lilian Hedges – Fremantle, WA
2. Madeleine Steere – Victoria, VIC
3. Hannah Buckling – Sydney Uni, NSW
4. Elle Armit – Drummoyne, NSW
5. Isobel Bishop – Sydney Uni, NSW
6. Bronwen Knox – Breakers, QLD
7. Pascalle Casey – Balmain, NSW
8. Amy Ridge – Cronulla, NSW
9. Zoe Arancini (c) – Fremantle, WA
10. Jessica Zimmerman – Dolphins, WA
11. Morgan Baxter – Drummoyne, NSW
12. Lena Mihailovic – Cronulla, NSW
13. Gabriella Palm – Barracudas, QLD