Sydney Uni Lions teammates Keesja Gofers and Lea Barta both excelled for the Australian Stingers at last week’s World League Water Polo qualifiers in Auckland, as the Australian team scored six wins from as many games in the double round robin tournament against China, Japan and host nation New Zealand.

Gofers, this year’s Women’s Water Polo National League MVP and SUSF Elite Athlete Program (EAP) scholarship holder, scored a brace of goals in three of the games, whilst Barta – a goalkeeper – was more than solid in the final three games where she was on the best player list twice, including the impressive 17-7 rout of China.  

Having not been involved with the national team in a major tournament since July 2010, Gofers was keen to play down her own individual achievements and focus more on the teams overall performance, saying “Winning six from six last week was a great result, and it means that we have qualified for the World League Finals – which was the main aim of the week. As a team, and individually, we were good but inconsistent and that comes with being a new team and being quite young.”

The Stingers will head into camp at the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) in Canberra next Wednesday, before flying out to China on May 29 for the FINA World League Finals that begin in Beijing on June 1.

The USA are the reigning World League champions, and have held that title since 2009. Australia has made two of the last three grand finals, the last of which took place in China last June where the Stingers were defeated 6-4.