#MoreROAR: Lionesses feast on round ball

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The University of Sydney women’s first grade soccer team have this season won, in the words of captain Liz Grey, “all of them,” writes Laura Hanlon. 

Competing in the Women’s PS4 National Premier League 1 team (NPL 1), the Lionesses have achieved back-to-back Championships, 2015 and 2016, as well as being crowned 2016 Premiers after finishing top of the table after eighteen rounds of the regular season. The Sydney University Soccer Football Club (SUSFC) was also awarded the 2016 Club Championship, effectively claiming, “all of them.”

Such a sustained level of success is rare, not forgetting the Lionesses made history last year as the first ever team, male or female, from SUSFC to achieve the honour of Champions at the NPL 1 level, the top tier of soccer in NSW. The Lionesses retained their Championship mantle this year with a hard fought 2-1 victory over North West Sydney Koalas in the grand final on Sunday 28 August, 2016.

Talk of a dynasty in the making is not a sign of arrogance; it is a sign of aspiration. It is built on a whole-of-club effort from administrators, coaches, support staff, players, family, supporters and sponsors aligned in determination and purpose.

Photos by F.A.M.E Photography - Jeremy Ng

Our top PS4 NPL women’s squad cannot maintain their success, season to season, without the Reserves, U17s and lower age sides all striving to achieve as well. The prestigious annual Club Championship Award is a real barometer of how well a club is tracking as it pools overall season results from U17s, PS4 Reserves and NPL 1 teams. Sydney University won this coveted award in 2016 for the PS4 NSW Women’s. The status of this accolade is reflected in the official report of the PS4 NPL 2016 Gala Ceremony, where Club Championships for the Women’s and Men’s competitions are listed first, before all other categories of award winners.

While not in any sense capturing every golden moment, it’s worth highlighting just a few noteworthy achievements across the three teams that contributed to securing the 2016 Club Championship.

The 2016 scoring statistics summary for the PS4 WNPL 1 sides is illuminating. Three Sydney University players feature in the top 10 scorers mainly, Evelyn Chronis, third place on the list with 13 goals and Emma Stanburg and Georgia Yeoman-Dale both blasting eight balls into the back of the net. No other team had more than one player feature in this top 10. Such stats speak volumes of a team’s overall strike power and not relying on one player to score.

Our PS4 Reserves finished the regular season as runnersup, behind Manly United FC, eventually going down 1-0 to Blacktown Spartans FC in the Preliminary Final. Capping a brilliant year for Uni, Adriane Demetrious was named PS4 NPL Women’s Reserves Player of the Year. This award is voted on by their peers.

Sydney University SFC Women’s U17 side were the 2016 Premiers, racking up a monumental 41 competition points at season end. This tally even eclipsed our NPL 1 Premiers who notched an imposing 39 points. Our U17s only tasted defeat twice over the eighteen rounds. They made the grand final only to go down 1-0 to arch rivals, Blacktown Spartans in the tightest of games. Sydney University had beaten Blacktown in the main semi-final, 2-1.

For the record, our U15 team finished the season a highly creditable fifth place, while our U13s made it through to the minor semi-final, going down narrowly 3-2 to the Emerging Jets.

In every grade of our women’s teams it is about giving your best in all aspects of preparation and on game day; improving as a player; playing for each other and harbouring a motivation for success.

The construction and completion of the centrepiece TAG Family Foundation Grandstand and upgraded facilities on Sydney University Football Ground (formerly known as University No. 2 Oval), along with the magnificent sponsorship from Brydens Lawyers are key pieces in the puzzle that represents a culture of quality. Such corporate support and facilities help create a culture of excellence.

Yes, sport is about enjoyment and participation but that joy is enhanced if you are winning. Liz Grey, our 2015 and 2016 NPL 1 Women’s Captain stated last year, “The team behind you is crucial for player support and success.” No truer words were spoken.

It doesn’t end there as this current period of unparalleled success has all sorts of positive spin-offs. The word is out that if you are serious about your football and wish to go ahead in the women’s game then come and play with SUSFC (Website, Facebook, Instagram). 

Want #MoreROAR? Issue 33 has hit the stands for summer and it’s FREE for you to pick-up next time you drop by one of our facilities!