After taking out the minor premiership with an unbeaten record, a depleted Sydney Uni Lions women’s water polo team bowed out of the Sydney L1 competition with two defeats in last weekends preliminary semi-final games.
Playing without star goalkeeper Lea Barta, and fellow Stingers Hannah Buckling and Sarah Harris who are all on national team duty in Canada, as well as national junior representative Emma Lewis who was ill, the Lions went down 8-7 to Drummoyne in the major semi-final on Saturday. Keesja Gofers fired home three goals and Gabby Wikman two as the Lions played with virtually no bench.
Another national junior and SUSF Elite Athlete Program (EAP) scholarship holder Tahlia Bogg (Bachelor of Primary Education) had to leave the game with a back injury, whilst Emily Scott (Bachelor of Science/Laws) was playing only her first game in six months after elbow surgery as a result of a skiing accident.
The tale of woe continued on Sunday when both Lewis and Bogg could not play and top scorer Gabby Wikman had to go interstate, leaving the Lions with only four first graders available in a 10-5 defeat by Cronulla. Gofers again starred with two strikes and Bec Curtis also netted two goals for the Lions.
It was a disappointing finish to a season where Sydney Uni was clearly the best in Sydney, easily winning the minor premiership after the rounds of the competition were completed.
However Lions Coach Ian Trent was clearly satisfied with the effort saying, “The girls battled away bravely against the odds and were competitive in both games against the basis of our opponents’ National League sides. We have plenty of talent to come back into the side when the National League starts in February.”