The Australian women’s water polo team has split its
opening two matches of the 2019 FINA World League Super Final in Hungary.
Having dropped their first match to Italy, the
Australians were in desperate need of victory against a combative China team to
build momentum towards the knockout rounds.
They achieved that win courtesy of a 10-8 result, in
which they held the balance of momentum for larger periods than their opponents.
Hannah Buckling and Rowie Webster each scored triples for
the Stingers in a performance that head coach Pedrag Mihailovic believes will
"Most of the game we were setting the pace. It was our
task to control the game’s flow. China has been on the chase, which showed
their good motivation and mood to play. In the end, we managed to make the game
faster, which was one of the major components for the eventual win.
"There were some bad mistakes in the way we played
defensively, so we shall draw conclusions and learn the lesson at this early
stage of the competition,” he said.
This result followed a two-goal defeat (11-9) in their
first-up clash with Italy.
The Stingers started the stronger and held a one-goal
advantage at quarter time, but the Sette Rossa demonstrated why they’re five-time
European champions to wrestle back control and close out victory with a
dominant defensive display.
Italy coach Fabio Conte indicated that his side’s awareness
of the Australians’ team strengths had helped them develop a blueprint for
"They are pretty good swimmers, they are powerful and
physically strong, but our defence was exactly how we practiced,” he said.
Lilian Hedges impressed in goals for the Stingers, and
helped keep the margin close, whilst Zoe Arancini has hit the scoreboard in
both completed matches for the Aussies so far.
They will next face the Netherlands, needing a win to
secure second place in Group A, which will provide a safer cross-over match in
the quarter finals.