Australia's women's water polo side, the Stingers, have won silver at the Intercontinental Cup after going down to world and Olympic champions, the USA.
The team fought back from a four-goal deficit to force the game to a penalty shootout.
All of the United States’ first quarter goals were courtesy of penalties. Showing good teamwork the Stingers combined together to get off the mark. Goals from Keesja Gofers and Hannah Buckling and Amy Ridge levelled scores 3-3 not long after.
The US flexed their muscles in the second, adding a further four goals to their overall score while Lena Mihailovic was Australia’s only goal scorer and faced an uphill battle.
The Stingers clawed back in the third with their strong defence limiting the US to just one goal. Isobel Bishop had an outstanding quarter saving a goal in defence before scoring herself off a penalty. Gofers added her second of the night.
Australia fightback continued with half-centurion Gabriella Palm keeping her side's hopes of a gold medal alive as at the other end of the pool, the Stingers were within a goal's reach of sending the game to a shootout.
ICYMI | The #AussieStingers went down in a nailbitter to @usawp in for the @fina1908 World League Inter-Continental Cup 🥇 match. . . CATCH UP 🎥 with these match highlights and @rowiewebster Webster post match interview! The #Aussies will now compete at the FINA World League Super Finals in Hungary from 4-7 June. . . @westernaustralia @ausolympicteam @waterpolowa @insidewais @hbf_stadium #justanotherdayinwa #FINAwaterpolo #FINAPerth2019 #WPWL19 #playwaterpolo
Captain Webster levelled the score with 40 seconds to go but a penalty shootout went against the Aussies as they finished 12-14 (9-9 at full time).
“We spoke about staying calm, staying positive, taking every opportunity and really being aggressive in attack. Our defence followed from that and we shut them out and they started to panic a little," Webster said.
“To match the best in the world for four quarters is a real step forward for us.
“We’re happy but we’re not necessarily satisfied. This will fuel our fire to come out and train harder.
"With a new coaching line up there’s going to be challenges and I think we just proved we’re a threat in the world.”
The strong performances will give Australia confidence as they prepare for the World League Finals and 2019 World Championships in South Korea with both tournaments crucial events ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.