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Stingers set up Semi with USA
4 August 2015

Developing Champions Athlete Facilitator Gemma Beadsworth played a big role in Australia's defeat of China at the FINA World Championships this week.

 
This article first appeared on the WAIS website (www.wais.org.au).
 

 


The Aussie Stingers are within one win of the women's gold medal game at the FINA World Championships in Kazan, Russia, after a heart stopping 12-10 penalty shootout win over China in their quarterfinal on Monday night.

 

China led for much of the match but the Stingers somehow managed to scratch out a 7-all draw and earn themselves victory.

 

In fact, Australia didn’t lead until WAIS athlete Gemma Beadsworth converted Australia’s third goal in the best of five-penalty shootout and goalkeeper Lea Yanitsas saved China’s next attempt.

 

In the end, all five of Australia’s shooters – Ash Southern, Bron Knox, Beadsworth, Bronte Halligan and Zoe Arancini (WAIS) - scored with their penalties – a reward for the courage all had shown in volunteering to take part in the daunting extra point contest.

 

Australia will now square off against reigning Olympic champion and world number one, USA – who defeated defending world champions Spain in an earlier quarterfinal.

 

The result was reminiscent of the thrilling penalty shootout Australia claimed to record a 20-18 win in the same stage of the London Olympic Games but despite the win, Stingers head coach Greg McFadden said his team had not played to their game plan or their potential.

 

"You can’t take anything away from China, they played really well,” McFadden said.

 

"They played probably above our expectations of them. Their extraman attack was good, their extraman defence was good and on the flipside ours was terrible.

 

"We spent plenty of time talking about it, we knew what they were going to do. They didn’t do anything different but we failed to execute and that was the disappointing thing about our game.

 

"We didn’t shoot well at all, there was a lot of silly individual errors. We had a lot of opportunities early in the game and we missed them and we continually put pressure on ourselves.

 

"We have to learn to take those opportunities because you don’t get out of jail to often and that’s what it was. We weren’t playing well, as a team we weren’t playing well and a lot of individuals weren’t playing well."

 

China came out hard in the first quarter with both teams involved in a softening up period that wouldn’t have been out of place in a Bledisloe Cup match, but things soon settled down and the teams traded goals for China to lead 3-2 at the first intermission. Australia’s goals came from Hannah Buckling in extraman and Zoe Arancini via a sublime cross cage pass from teenager Bronte Halligan.

 

The determined Chinese again scored first to open the second term via a counter attack and despite earning three consecutive exclusions in the middle of the quarter Australia could not convert on extraman, heading into halftime down by two goals.

 

The Stingers were struggling in attack and midway through the game had just a 17 per cent shot efficiency.

 

Australia’s leading goalscorer for the tournament Ash Southern drilled a laser from outside just 29 seconds into the second half but turned from hero to villain seconds later when she was ejected and China made the most of the extraman opportunity to go back out to two goals.

 

Halligan delivered another cross cage pass on the counter attack, this time to skipper Bronwen Knox on the drive and when Halligan had her own shot deflected past the Chinese goalkeeper with three minutes left in the quarter, Australia were back on even terms for the first time since the opening minutes.

 

China got the next goal on extraman before dual Olympian Gemma Beadsworth earned a penalty that sharpshooter Rowie Webster made easy work of to see the team’s locked at 6-all with a period to play and their tournament on the line.

 

It took more than three minutes but the Chinese scored to break the deadlock in the final quarter in double extraman – Knox and Glencora McGhie (WAIS) were both ejected – but it took McGhie just 15 seconds to make amends at the other end to tie things up again with more than half the period to play.Neither team could add to their score as the clock wound down and the teams went to penalties.

 

Southern scored first for Australia, followed by Knox, both goals cancelled out by their Chinese opponents but when Beadsworth made it three from three and Yanitsas performed her heroics in goals the ball was in Australia’s court and Halligan, then Arancini, showed maturity beyond their years to push Australia through to the semis and a crack at qualifying for the gold medal game.

 

The Australian men’s team will look to join the Stingers in the semi finals with a quarterfinal win over Greece on Tuesday night. The Aussie Sharks will swim-off at 6.50pm local time (11.50pm Perth time) having not qualified for the semi finals at a world championships or Olympic Games since 1998.

 

-WaterPoloAus

   
 
 
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