Sydney Uni stars ready for Stingers squad

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Sydney Uni Women’s Water Polo Club (SUWWPC) will be more than well represented in the Aussie Stingers, after four Sydney Uni women were selected in the 17-player squad that will form the basis of a 13-player team to tour Canada and the USA in December.

Centre back Hannah Buckling, Goalkeeper Lea Barta and Driver Keesja Gofers have all been selected in the squad following impressive performances for the Stingers at July’s World Championships in Barcelona. The Stingers finished a successful tournament with a silver medal after going down to hosts Spain in the grand final.

“I’m very excited to be part of the Stingers squad, particularly after our fantastic result at the World Championships,” said Gofers, who now has 47 national caps. 

“It’s great that there are four of us from Sydney Uni in the squad. It shows that the club (SUWWPC) is on track for a big season in the National League.”

Joining Buckling, Barta and Gofers in the Australian 17-player squad is fellow Sydney University star Sarah Harris. A former South African national team member, Harris is now a naturalised Australian and will be hoping to make her debut for her new country in December.

“I’m unbelievably excited to be included in the Stingers squad,” explained Harris.

“I have been working extremely hard, focusing on the Australian way of playing and training. I am honoured to be included in the squad and if I get the chance to make my debut with the Stingers, it would be my greatest achievement to date.”

The tour will see the Stingers compete in the Canada Cup from December 3-8 and the Holiday Cup in the USA from December 11-15.

Australian Coach Greg McFadden said the tour was an opportunity for current players to cement their place in the Stingers’ set up, whilst also blooding new talent into the senior women’s program.

“These players have been identified through their performances earlier in the year with the national team and through their training over the past two months,” McFadden said.

“Some players were unavailable for the tour due to personal reasons and injuries.

The 17 players selected will continue training with their state institutes and academies over the next few weeks, until the final announcement is made on November 17 after round five of the NTC Challenge between the WAIS and VIS/SASI.

Aussie Stingers 17-player squad for the Canada and USA tour (Dec 1-15)

GK’s: Lea Barta (NSW, 24), Kelsey Wakefield (Qld, 21), Victoria Brown (Vic, 27).

Field Players: Jessica Martin (SA, 23), Jayde Appel (NSW, 19), Hannah Buckling (NSW, 21), Olivia King (Qld, 21), Zoe Arancini (WA, 22), Rowie Webster (Vic, 25), Sarah Harris (NSW, 25), Keesja Gofers (NSW, 23), Bronwen Knox (Qld, 28), Isobel Bishop (SA, 22), Bronte Colenso (Qld, 20), Ashleigh Southern (Qld, 21), Sophie Smith (Qld, 28), Eleisha Browne (WA, 22).

Coaching Staff: Greg McFadden (Head Coach), Aleks Osadchuk, Pedrag Mihailovic (Assistant Coaches), Lynne Morris (Team Manager), Liz Steet (Physio), Kirsten Peterson (Sport Psychologist), Nicola Johnson (Referee)