National Bronze Medal for 14 and under Water Polo Team
During the Easter holidays, our 14 and under Water Polo Team headed to the Gold Coast for a week to participate in the Water Polo Australia 14 and under National Championships.
There were 30 teams from all states and territories across Australia with the exception of the NT. To begin the competition there were 8 groups, we defeated Tamworth 27-1, Tasmania 25-0 and Qld Country 18-2 to progress the top 16 teams, a solid start to the competition.
Our Team then had to face a very strong University of NSW (UNSW), Polo Bears and BGGS. We needed to win 2 of these 3 games to move to the top 8 in the country – the Championship Group. We lost to UNSW 6-3, then defeated Polo Bears 8-3 and BGGS 6-2, a good result which allowed us to progress to the top 8.
The games were now getting serious. In the quarter final we played Mermaids and the game went down to the wire, we came away with a 1 goal win to place us in the top 4 in Australia. This was a great achievement as Stuartholme has never had a team at nationals, whether it was by U14, U16 or U18 that has made the semi-finals, the girls were very excited about ‘making history’, top 4 in Australia!
In our semi-final we came across UNSW who had defeated us 6-3 two days earlier. The girls played a fantastic game, we were leading by 2 goals in the last quarter but unfortunately UNSW scored to level the game with 20 seconds left, sending the game into a penalty shoot-out. The penalty shoot-out was filled with top quality shots from both teams but unfortunately for us, UNSW scored all 5 penalties and we scored 4, UNSW progressed to the Gold Medal and Stuartholme to the Bronze Medal game, this was a heart breaking loss, but the girls had to regroup and come ready to play on the final day for Bronze.
In our Bronze Medal game we faced Cronulla, who are one of Australia’s top clubs in all ages so this was not going to be an easy game. Again Stuartholme started fantastically, leading at each quarter. We went into the last quarter with a 5-2 lead, we still had a full quarter of water polo to play and we did not want to let the opposition back into the game as we had done in our semi-final. The girls fought all the way to the end, defeating Cronulla 6-3, a brilliant team game that saw us secure the bronze medal at the Australian Championships, a fantastic achievement.
I would like to thank Gaynor Pinn who was our manager for the week and who did an outstanding job, she was ably assisted by Lena White. I would also like to thank all of the parents, as well as the other Stuartholme supporters, who made their way down to the coast for some or all of our games, your support was certainly appreciated. Thanks must also go to the Stuartholme Sports Department who had trust in this team and allowed them to enter the national championships.
Finally, I would like to say a huge thank you to the girls, you were a credit to yourselves, your family and your School. The way you played in the water was the best I have seen and the way you conducted yourselves out of the water supporting the other teams, from Queensland and other states was wonderful to see, that true Cor Unum Spirit.
The girls who were a part of the bronze medal winning team for Nationals were: Ella Mulligan, Abbey Pomeroy, Molly Nasser, Ruby Pinn, Lara Owen, Immy Fraser, Maya White, Alice Rogers, Lily Hunter, Gabby Twigg, Oonagh Keogh and Elizabeth Nolan.
Nicola Johnson – Coach