Athens, Greece (February 3)
A Nikita Cuffe CF goal got the ball rolling for the Australians but the Russians immediately responded with a Shepelina lob from the left wing. Goals were once again traded with a Bec Rippon counter attack matched by a Konukh lob this time on counter.
A Bronwen Knox earned and converted penalty was followed by a fantastic cross cage wood shot from Bec Rippon on the left wing saw Australia skip out to a two goal lead before two Pantyulina goals, 1 on extra from right wing and the other also from the right wing on 6 on 6.
photo Waterpolo Australia
A Taniele Gofers goal from a driving centre put Australia ahead once again before a huge blunder by the Australian defence after stopping a Russian extra gave them a gift goal to level at 5-5 at the end of the 1st quarter.
Another Konukh goal on extra opened the scoring in the 2nd and goals were traded for the quarter through a Melissa Rippon lob from out the top, Pantyulina extra from right wing and a Bronwen Knox goal on the half time buzzer in extra made it 7-7 after a time out move.
The 3rd quarter opened with a Shepelina extra from left wing was immediately followed with a Bec Rippon drive. The Russians then got the next three goals from Pantyulina through a penalty, counter and extra from the right wing. Australia during this period failed to capitalise on their opportunities especially in extra which allowed the Russians to lead 11-8.
The start of the 4th saw the Russians slow the game and a couple of missed counter attacks by Australia were punished with another Russian counter attack by Pantyulina. However Australia responded to the challenge and fought back through a Nikita Cuffe goal from a driving CF, a Melissa Rippon right driver outside shot and a Rebecca Rippon outside point goal got them back to within 1 goal with 2.30 remaining.
However a questionable Konukh penalty with 1.10 to go allowed the Russians to grab a 2 goal buffer and another Pantyulina extra goal on full time.
Coach McFadden said “Today we looked sharp and our attack was outstanding in the 1st half, but unfortunately our extra man attack and defence was the difference.
We scored some great goals and it was very pleasing how we fought back into the game to get into a position that we could have won the game.
The teams going to the Olympic qualifications are looking very sharp and are at a different phase in their preparation.
"So although the tour wasn’t a huge success it showed us the areas we need to improve on between now and Beijing. It also allowed us to give players coming back from injuries some valuable match practice while giving them an opportunity to press for selection in the Olympic squad," McFadden said.
Best players – Rebecca Rippon, Nikita Cuffe, Bronwen Knox & Melissa Rippon.
Goal scorers –
Russia 14 – E. Pantyulina 8, S. Konukh 3, N. Shepelina 3
Aust 11 – R. Rippon 4, N. Cuffe 2, B. Knox 2, M. Rippon 2, T. Gofers 1
Saves – Victoria Brown 7 saves
AUS Extra 1 from 7 Penalties 1 from 1
RUS Extra 6 from 9 Penalties 2 from 2
Didn’t play E. Douglass, G. Beadsworth, A. Hetzel
Other result Hungary defeated Greece
Final placings 1. Russia, 2. Hungary, 3. Australia, 4. Greece, 5. Netherlands