Sydney University’s women’s water polo captain Keesja Gofers scored one of Australia’s goals in their 7-2 win over China in the bronze medal play-off at the FINA Women’s World League Super Final in Shanghai, China, on Sunday.
The Stingers made the bronze medal play-off after defeating Canada 8-7 in a tight quarter-final before losing 13-4 to the United States in their semi-final. The US went on to win the gold medal with a 10-8 win over Italy in the final.
While the Australian women’s defence was impressive in the play-off – they prevented the hosts from scoring on eight out of nine opportunities – Gofers gave them superb starts by winning four of four swim-offs to hand the Stingers possession at the start of each quarter .
And the Stingers responded, with skipper Bronwen Knox instrumental in capitalising on the early possession by organising the team to open up scoring opportunities.
Rowie Webster and Jayde Appell each scored two goals for the Stingers, while Glencora McGhie, Ash Southern and Gofers also goaled.
Southern said the Stingers’ defence was the key to finishing the tournament on a high note after the side’s 13-4 semi-final loss to the USA.
“We came out today with a point to prove. Things didn’t go our way yesterday (in the semi-final) so we focused on bouncing back and that stemmed from our defence,” Southern said.
“Credit to all the girls for showing the Stingers pride and showing resilience. It was a great tournament to build on for the World Cup (in Russia in August).”
Sydney University had two other representatives in the Australian squad, in Hannah Buckling and Bronte Halligan.
Buckling, who recently claimed a bronze medal with Sydney University in the NWPL, was selected on the strength of her international experience at the 2013 FINA World Championships, where the Stingers were silver medallists. She also had a stint playing for the University of Southern California Trojans in 2013.
Halligan has also been named in the Australian team to contest the 2014 FINA World Youth Championships in Madrid in Spain in August. It will be her second World Championship appearance, after representing Australia at the FINA World Junior Championships last year in Greece.
Stingers coach Greg McFadden said the Australian squad is building towards the FINA World Cup. “We are still building towards the World Cup in August, but more importantly keeping an eye on who may be the bolter for the Rio Olympics,” he said.
“It’s a great combination of experience and youth. The young players learnt a lot and performed better with each game and I look forward to them continuing this development.”