USA wins 10-9 as Stingers put on a solid performance. Abby Andrews brilliant on her debut.
It was the first real test for the Australian Women’s water-polo team, since their bronze medal game the the World Championship. A much needed opportunity to get a feel for the game and utilize the hard work that they have put in, over the course of their 5 month intense training period at the Australian Institute of Sport.
“Coming up against USA, we always expected a very physical game and with it being our first international game since our Canberra residential camp, we were excited to implement what we learnt in those months ”Maddy Steere
From the very beginning, both teams showed extraordinary physical readiness. Every time the ball was stolen, very aggressive and fast paced transition into attack followed.
Australia, aware of the strength of the opposition’s center forward had to come back in a zone early in their defense from the top positions, while the Americans were able to stay in a press for slightly longer, eventually coming back into a zone.
The USA team has plenty of games under their belt, and it showed as they appeared more composed and relaxed especially in those dying moments of their attack where they often managed to find a solid solution resulting in kick outs, and goals.
Australia had to work very hard for every goal and Zoe Arancini was the first to manage to break their defense with a strong outside shot and even the score to 1-1 . A lovely pass out from CF Elle Armit to Lena Mihailovic saw the scores even at 2-2 and a long range shot, a specialty of Amy Ridge gave the Aussies the lead.
By the end of the first quarter USA regained and remained in the lead for the remained of the game. (4-3, 7-5, 8-6, 10-9)
The second half of the game showed the individual brilliance of Hannah Buckling who managed to get a fast break and score off the post after wresting USA center forward in defense. Then, captain Rowie Webster’s moment of magic came, as she elegantly tapped the ball in from the drive.
Special mention must go to 2000 born Abby Andrews who played brilliantly considering it was her first game with the National Team. Abby managed to score one goal, earn one penalty, looked extremely dangerous with the ball and managed to find some fine passing solutions in attack.
The Stingers despite trailing by 3 goals behind during 4th quarter, showed a great deal of composure and character to stay in the game. The final extra-man play of the game was perhaps one of the finest for the Aussies, showing that all the girls need right now is few strong games of water polo and the road to Tokyo is looking bright.
“It was a close game and our fitness and determination really stood out and helped us fight right until the very end. It is great to have such a close and competitive game against such a strong team and we can not wait to have another crack at them in the second test match”Maddy Steere