After the men’s finals, Water Polo Australia brings news of women’s OVO Australian Waterpolo League.
UNSW West Killer Whales today made history when they clenched the 2018 OVO Australian Waterpolo League championship trophy after a 5-4 win over Sydney Uni Lions. After claiming the minor premiership title this season, the Killer Whales capped off a big year for the Club taking their first ever national league title.
While the Killer Whales came into the Finals Series hot favorites, they knew they were going to have to dig deep to defeat the reigning champions Sydney Uni Lions.
While both sides were on a goal shooting spree early Lions were leading 4-3 at the end of the quarter, both sides delivered a strong defense to keep the game low scoring throughout the remainder of the match.
It wasn’t until the third quarter that dual Olympian Ash Southern scored for the Killer Whales and locked scores at 4-4 heading into the final quarter. With under three minutes to go scores remained locked, but then a great shot from Killer Whales Co-Captain Daisy Carter gave her side the win and the trophy.
“It’s an amazing feeling. Seeing all these girls here supporting us who’ve been at the Club previously and didn’t get as lucky as us to be here, it’s an awesome feeling,” said Carter.
“A win like that, against a team like that it’s amazing. It’s such a good feeling to know we all came together to beat a quality team like Sydney Uni Lions,” she said.
Rio Olympian and Killer Whales Co-Captain Lea Yanitsas secured her third straight championships title, this time with her new (or old team) the Killer Whales.
Previously forming part of the winning Sydney Uni Lions team, Yanitsas this year returned to her first Club, UNSW Wests and today proved invaluable in goals.
“We felt high stress, high energy out there. Games like that… it’s exactly why you want to play finals. We were really pumped,” said Yanitsas.
“Our girls played the best defensive game we’ve played all season. I’m not sure what the stats were but we had amazing blocks on balls and just kept going, kept going, kept going,” she said.
For Killer Whales Head Coach Tim Hamill, this day has been a long time coming for the Club.
“The Club, the committee, the players… everyone at the Club has worked really hard for this and I couldn’t be happier for our team. This is one very proud coach,” said Hamill.
“We made a few changes a few years ago, which the girls decided to do. They decided what they wanted to be moving forward as a Club and as a team. We’ve defended really well all year. We’ve got Lea (Yanitsas) in goals, excellent center-backs, and good blocking positions. I wasn’t too worried about defense coming into this game.
“But obviously scoring goals is a big one. So we made a small change with our center forward movement and some more mobile attacking plays which really paid off for us and ultimately made a difference in the end,” he said.
The Killer Whales took gold ahead of the Sydney Uni Lions (silver) and Fremantle Marlins (bronze).
OVO Australian Water Polo League Awards – Women
Debbie Watson Medal – Most Valuable Player (Season) – Elle Armit (Drummoyne Devils)
Pat Jones Medal – Most Valuable Player (Final Series) – Ash Southern (UNSW Wests Killer Whales)
2018 AWL All-Star Team Women
- Elle Armit (Drummoyne Devils)
- Bronwyn Knox (QLD Breakers)
- Keesja Gofers (Sydney University Lions)
- Ash Southern (UNSW Wests)
- Erin Redbond (Fremantle Marlins)
- Kiara Holden (ACU Cronulla Sharks)
- Rachel Fattall (Hunter Hurricanes)
OVO AWL Finals Series Officials:
Matt Martin, Dragan Bakic, David Geerie, Nicola Johnson, Andrew Carney, Adam Richardson, Daniel Bartels, Daniel Flahive, Nick Hodgers
John Whitehouse Medal – best referee in the AWL Final series – Nicola Johnson