Both the Sydney University men’s and women’s teams have qualified directly into the National Water Polo League semi finals after completing successful regular seasons.
The men’s team finished the season with a record of 19-3 to earn the Southern Cross Trophy for minor premiers. The Lions finished with the best attacking and defensive statistics with an incredible 151 goal-difference.
Coach Dusan Krstic said, “The boys are learning how to win tough games with great defence and a consistent counter attack. Earlier in the season we had a few disappointing losses against the good teams. But lately we have beaten both the Wests Magpies and the Victorian Seals who finished second and third on the ladder.”
The Lion men play the lowest ranked winner of Friday’s opening Finals round - likely to be the Brisbane Barracudas, but nothing is certain in sudden death Finals play.
Meantime the SU girls dropped their final 2 games whilst missing 5 international stars who were in New Zealand for the Intercontinental Cup, where Australia finished second to the USA.
The Lions also finished with a 19-3 record to take second spot on the ladder behind the Fremantle Marlins by a solitary point. The win-loss ratio is the best ever regular season performance by a Sydney University women’s team. The Lions also recorded the best defensive stats in the NWPL.
They go on to play the highest ranked winner in the opening Finals round with the Cronulla Sharks their likely opponents.
Lions coach Alicia Smith is cautious prior to the semis,”This year’s Finals series is basically sudden death. Every game counts so if you have a bad one - bad luck. But we are where we want to be and will be aiming to put on a good performance. If it’s our best, it should be good enough."
All the NWPL Finals action is at the Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre at Homebush. The semi finals are both on Saturday afternoon with the Lions men at 12 noon and the women at 4.30pm.