New Zealand Women finish 7th at World Champs
After a hard fought campaign, the New Zealand Senior Womens side – fielding 3 players from the Waitakere Blue Diamonds – have finished 7th at the FINA World Championships held in Surgut, Russia.
Pool play started out tough for the Kiwis with an 18-2 loss to powerhouse USA. The following match against Canada was hard fought, with 2017 National League MVP Emmerson Houghton scoring half of NZ’s four goals. However that wasn’t enough to overcome the well drilled Canadian squad, who netted 11 to take the victory. Things then picked up with a strong performance against South Africa in which our women were the victors with 10 goals to 4. NZ Head Coach Angie Winstanley–Smith had this to say about the game: 'South Africa fought really hard, especially in the first half, and on our side, we had a lot of problems defensively. Then the girls showed their character. [The] girls played with a lot of heart, and I congratulate them on the win.'
Having placed 3rd in Group B, the first crossover game saw the NZ Women take on Spain, a difficult quarterfinal game against the #3 ranked European side. Now playing for 5 – 8, the next match saw the girls fall to China, leading to a second game against South Africa to finish. Coming out strong for their final game, the Kiwis took the win 14-3 to finish 7th at the World Champs.
Congratulations to Chantelle, Emmerson, Grace and all the girls for a well fought campaign! We look forward to having your international experience in the pool back home for the 2019 national league.
Watch the highlights of the 17th FINA Women’s Water Polo World Cup: