The Madibaz women’s water polo team finished with the bronze medal for the second time in a row at the University Sport South Africa tournament last month.
Playing at Stellenbosch, the Nelson Mandela University outfit emulated their 2018 showing when they defeated UP-Tuks in the third-place playoff.
While they had hoped to contest the final, Madibaz Sport water polo manager Melinda Goosen said the tough competition meant that just winning a medal was “a huge achievement”.
UCT and Maties have dominated the competition and they again contested the final, which was won by Maties.
As water polo has slowly gained traction at Nelson Mandela University, Goosen said they felt they were capable of producing good results.
“Unfortunately, we drew the tough UCT side in the first match of the tournament and lost by one goal.
“This made things a lot harder for us to reach the final as we had to win all our remaining matches.
“We dominated all our other matches and then faced the Maties first team in the last pool match.
“We have never beaten a Maties side, but the girls started well and we led after the second chukka.
“However, we could not finish off the game and they edged us in the last minutes of the match as we lost by two goals.”
While producing an all-round effort, Goosen said goalkeeper Meghan Maartens “was definitely a standout player from our team”.
“Thanks to her superb efforts other teams found it a real battle to score goals against us.”
With the sport proving extremely popular at school level she felt it was important to show what Madibaz could achieve.
“There are some really good players but it’s tough to sign them as other varsities also have their scouts out,” added Goosen.
“Over the past two years our head coach Jono Watkins has done a phenomenal job with the ladies’ team. They have performed consistently well and have become a force to be reckoned with.
“We have a well-established programme now and I am looking forward to what this team can achieve in 2020.”
In an extremely tough men’s competition, Madibaz finished in sixth place and Goosen said they would continue to build for the future.