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2012 London Olympics Women Games 1-3: Stingers hold off Russia
A powerful Aussie Stingers outfit have proved too strong for their Russian counterparts delivering a convincing 11-8 victory at the Olympic Water Polo Arena in London.
In a free flowing opening quarter, the Stingers were able to find the inside water of the Russians on numerous occasions to net six goals and produce their best attacking performance of the Games.
The Russians were at times equally effective scoring four of their own, but a 60 per cent conversion rate from the field and brilliant defence by Alicia McCormack in the cage saw the Stingers out manoeuvre their opponents.
The speed of the game slowed in the second quarter and after Russia got a goal back at 4:50; Bronwen Knox was able net her second through a deft one-two with Glencora Ralph.
McCormack was again busy, repelling wave after wave of Russian attack before turning provider for a streaking Nicola Zagame who scored her third for the game.
It was a different story in the third quarter, with just one goal being scored. Russia increased the pressure courtesy of a 13-4 lopsided kick out count, leaving the relentless McCormack and the Stingers’ gutsy extra-man defence to maintain the winning margin.
A fourth goal to the dynamic Zagame early in the last period helped restore the balance, with Stingers captain Kate Gynther netting in the final minute to seal the contest and secure top spot for Australia in Group B.
“We’re the top of our group now and we’ve won all our games so that is all we needed to do,” a content Greg McFadden said after the win.
“We are confident, but it all starts again. “It’s a new tournament and we now have to prepare for China.”
McFadden, although concerned by the number of kick outs against his team, was pleased with the effort and heaped praise on the Cronulla Sharks duo of McCormack and Zagame.
“We did get penalised by the refs a bit, and so far it seems no other teams are getting penalised as much, but that’s what it is,” he said. “We just have to concentrate on what we do and so far that is working.
“She (McCormack) was great today. She really saved our butts and with Nicola they were our best players. Nicola played a great game for a young girl and I’m very happy for her.”
Barring a potential upset in the China versus USA game later tonight, the Stingers next match will be against the Chinese on Sunday.
Victoria Brown, Gemma Beadsworth, Sophie Smith, Holly Lincoln-Smith, Jane Moran, Bronwen Knox, Rowie Webster, Kate Gynther (c), Glencora Ralph, Ash Southern, Mel Rippon, Nicola Zagame, Alicia McCormack
Result: Australia 11 bt Russia 8