Early season dominance in National Water Polo League

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The Sydney Uni men and women Lions water polo teams both won three from three games on the weekend to both secure spots at the top of the table in the National Water Polo League.

The women kicked off the weekends proceedings at home on Friday night against the Adelaide Jets. The Sydney women came in as hot favorites as the Jets are yet to register a win, whereas the Lions are undefeated and arguably premiership frontrunners at this point in the season.

The difference between the two teams was evident from the very start as the Sydney women jumped out to a 5-0 lead at the end of the first quarter. The Lions kept this up through the remainder of the game, defeating the Jets 19-5 in a clinical performance. 18- year-old young gun Bronte Halligan led the Lions in scoring with 4 goals, while her fellow Australian Opens squad member Keesja Gofers put 3 in the back of the net. Danielle Lewis, Lili Edser, Isobel Bishop,

Hannah Buckling and Tahlia Bogg all netted 2 goals, with Olivia Mandalinic and Madeline Rosenthal both scoring one each.

The Sydney Uni men also took on the Adelaide Jets directly after the women’s game. In a similar scenario to the women’s game, the Adelaide side came in as heavy underdogs with the Lions tied for top on the ladder with 5 wins, 1 loss and the Jets tied for bottom of the ladder with 0 wins from 5 games. The men showed no signs of slowing down their strong early season form, getting out to a 6-2 lead after the first quarter and carrying on to a 21-6 victory. Olympian Johnno Cotterill again lead the Lions in scoring with 5, while big Croatian import Goran Tomasevic continued his good form with 4 goals. Luke Northcott and Jeremy Davie also had strong games with 3 goals each, Clayton Whittaker scored 2, and Trent Franklin, Chris Dyson, Tom Kearns and Tom McJannett all chipped in with one goal apiece.

It was back home to Sydney Uni’s Peter Montgomery pool on the Saturday as both Lion’s teams backed up against the Victorian Seals.

Both the Sydney Lions and Victorian Seal women’s teams were undefeated coming into their match up, hungry to separate themselves at the top of the table. In a tight match up the Sydney women came out on top, winning 9-6. The victory puts the Lions in outright top spot, the perfect start for their quest to become National League champions. Bronte Halligan again showed her incredible talent scoring 3 goals, while Isobel Bishop continued her great weekend with 3 as well. Ever reliable Hannah Buckling also scored 2 goals and Keesja Gofers had one.

The Sydney Uni men would have to put in a strong effort to take down the Victorian Seals and keep their spot on top of the ladder. It was set to be a close one as the Seals and Lions had both only dropped one game into the young season. However, the Lions were more energized early as they were up 5-1 after the opening quarter. The Seals had reason to be tired as the night before they won an epic away game against the Cronulla Sharks in penalty shoot outs, conversely to the Lions who cruised to victory against the Adelaide Jets. The first quarter proved to be the difference as the rest of the game was very even with the Lions getting over the line 12-9. Johnno Cotterill continued his goal scoring ways with 5, while American import Michael Rosenthal had a great game also scoring 5. Jeremy Davie scored one as well as Goran Tomasevic who took his tally to 5 for the weekend.

In their third and final games of the weekend the men and women took on the Adelaide Jets again on the Sunday. There were no surprises in either of these games as the heavily favoured Sydney Uni teams cruised to victory in both encounters. The women were victorious 20-5, the goal scorers were 4 to Danielle Lewis and Hannah Buckling, 3 to Isobel Bishop and Keesja Gofers, doubles for Cathryn Prout and Hannah Leitch, and singles for Tahlia Bogg and Elena Chrysatis. While the men defeated the Jets 15-7, with Michael Rosenthal and Johnno Cotterill both scoring 4, Jeremy Davie netting 3, 2 goals for Tom Kearns, and singles for Goran Tomasevic and Tom McJannett.

In an excellent start to the season, both the Sydney Uni men and women now sit at outright leaders in the National Water Polo League standings after three rounds. The women are undefeated with 5 wins, while the men are an impressive 8 wins from 9 games.

With the holiday season coming up and the Australia v Italy water polo tests this weekend, the Sydney Uni men will not be playing until January 7th 2016. The women however, will be travelling up to Queensland for a four game road trip against the Queensland KFC Breakers and the Brisbane Barracudas. We wish the women the very best in these games and hope they can remain undefeated leaders.

Happy holidays and GO USYD!