The women’s 1s water polo team put on a disciplined performance when they faced local rivals Sheffield Hallam in their recent BUCS fixture, drawing 17-17.
Hallam came into the game as league leaders in their BUCS standings and were so far undefeated this season.
On the other hand, finding players available for Wednesday games has been an issue for Uni of, with many students struggling to balance university work and sports.
As a result, the team has suffered against opposition that would otherwise have been beatable.
Additionally, neither team had their first-choice goalkeeper, with Hallam’s being their captain, and Uni of captain, Rebecca Lee, being forced to play in goal despite being a strong outfield player.
Even though these proved to be early setbacks, Rebecca felt that they put in a performance to be proud of.
She said: “It was a very even game throughout.
“We are the only team this season that cost them points and really test them and there was potential for us to win.”
“As we’ve lost Varsity for women’s water polo for the past 11 years this score is really promising for when Varsity comes around next year.
“We lost by one goal last year so this game was the closest we’ve come to beating them for many years.”
However, playing against Hallam is no regular game, insists Rebecca, who says the rivalry always brings out the best of both teams.
She said: “Playing Hallam always results in a big game no matter the score.
“As individuals, we all get along, and are even friends with each other, but no matter how well you know the opposition it all goes out the window when you get into the pool to play.
“We don’t tend to talk to our opposition before a game as we like to keep in our pre-game mindset and so avoiding conversation is usually the best thing before a match.”
The two sides had met previously this term, a 15-4 loss for Uni of, so this game was a vital moment for the team to prove just how much they had improved in the past two months.
Rebecca said: “As captain I’ve tried to introduce a really strict regime in training and getting the players to really knuckle down and work for each other.
“This isn’t something the women’s water polo has ever really succeeded in until now and as a result the girls are really being picky when they do something wrong and are really evaluating their performances as they gradually improve.
“It wasn’t until the end of the game that the team finally realised how much we have improved since October and how well the training programme has worked.”