Sydney Uni girls take the sting out of China

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Sydney Uni Women’s Water Polo Club (SUWWPC) representatives Keesja Gofers, Lea Barta and Hannah Buckling have ended a weeklong camp on a high, competing as part of the Australian team that defeated great rivals China 7-6 at the BHP Billiton Super Aquatic Series in Perth on Friday night.

Gofers, Barta and Buckling were selected as part of a 17 strong Australian women’s water polo squad  that came together to train in preparation for their one-off game against 2012 London Olympic Games quarter-finalists China.

13 players were then selected for the one-off game against China, of which all three Sydney Uni girls made the cut.

The Aussie Stingers, Australia’s women’s water polo team, defeated China 7-6 in the $500,000 BHP Billiton Aquatic Super Series at Challenge Stadium in Perth – a weekend that saw the staging of water polo, pool and ocean swim events.

Playing before a passionate local crowd following Australia’s swimming clash with China and South Africa, the Stingers, shook off the early season rust to break a 3-all halftime deadlock to lead by three goals early in the final quarter before hanging on against a late Chinese surge.

The game was the first time the two great Asia-Oceania rivals have met since they played out an epic penalty shootout quarterfinal at the London Olympics that the Australians came from behind to win 20-18.

China brought nine players from that game to Perth, Australia were returning just four from their Olympic campaign.

“It was quite a good team performance against a Chinese squad that featured nine Olympians from London,” explained Gofers.

“Our young squad had four weeks off before we met up in Perth, but we showed plenty of improvement throughout the week and put in a strong showing against China.”

In the men’s game Sydney University Men’s Water Polo Club (SUMWPC) representative Jono Cotterill was part of the Australian men’s team that went down to Croatia 7-5 on Saturday night.

The Croatian team were 2012 London Olympic gold medallists, but the Australian Sharks more than held their own.

Cotterill, a former Sydney Uni water polo junior, will now set his sights on performing strongly for the Sydney Uni Lion’s men’s water polo team
in the National Water Polo League starting next weekend.

Gofers and Barta will be part of the women’s team in the National Water Polo League, while Buckling has already arrived in the US as she prepares to compete for the University of Southern California (USC).