Both men’s and women’s teams come away with hardware in Hamilton

The University of Ottawa men’s and women’s water polo teams participated in Ontario University Athletics (OUA) championships held this weekend in Hamilton.

In a valiant effort, the women’s team secured a well-deserved bronze medal finish as they defeated their Carleton rivals 7-4 on Saturday. The Men’s team also won their bronze medal game on Nov. 29 by upsetting McMaster in their home pool.

For the women, things did not get off to the best start as they lost their first match in an upset on Nov. 27 to hosts McMaster.

The Gees were ranked second going into the women’s championship games. However, the team bounced back to reel off two consecutive victories, which were enough to secure a third-place finish.

They opened their Saturday with a narrow 13-11 victory over the Queen’s Gaels, led by a three-goal performance from Tara Hristov.

The team then put themselves in contention for bronze in the following game when they faced a Carleton team coming off a semifinal loss to the top-ranked Toronto Varsity Blues.

The men’s team won two of three games, with their only loss coming at the hands of the eventual champions Carleton Ravens.

The men initially started with a strong 18-12 victory against the Western Mustangs in Friday’s game one. Having been primed for a championship final appearance against the top-ranked Varsity Blues, the Gees were shocked 9-7 by the Ravens, who had received a bye in the first round.

However, the Gees recovered to defeat McMaster in their final game and clinch the bronze medal.

After all is said and done it was a successful weekend for the two programs, who are bound to be delighted with their two-medal haul at the championships.

Erin Woods, a member of the women’s team, played for the Hamilton team while growing up in Burlington, Ontario, and said she and other members of the team felt at home playing in front of the spectators at the championships due to the amount of family, coaches and former teammates there.

“Playing (McMaster), our weaknesses were pointed out. The next couple of months we’ll be kind of pinpointing some things that we need to work on,” said Woods in an interview with the Fulcrum.

“We now know where we need to improve, it was kind of a learning experience and in January (at the next tournament) we’ll do better.”