Lions sweep OUA water polo bronze medals

It was an exciting day in the pool for the York Lions men’s and women’s water polo teams as both squads captured bronze medals at the Ontario University Athletics (OUA) championship hosted by Carleton University in Ottawa. Both teams defeated the McMaster Marauders on Sunday to win the hardware. The men’s team won 7-4 while the women edged out a narrow 9-8 victory.

In the men’s game, the Lions came in as the No. 4 seeds and upset McMaster, seeded third, to win the bronze. Michael Estrada, Trevor Whyte and Ryan Forde each scored two goals and Jordan Duffield added the other. Goaltender Anatoly Gusev was steady in net to seal the win for the Lions. The third place finish is sweet revenge for the men, who missed out on a medal last year when they were defeated by the Toronto Varsity Blues in the bronze medal game. York also finished fourth in 2006.

Meanwhile, the women pulled off the triumph in their game thanks to three-goal performances by Katherine Mercer and Kara Knowles. Julie Csikos, Ann Nisiewicz and Karin Shortreed added one goal apiece in the win while goalkeeper Morgen Smith earned the victory in net. Just one year after failing to win a game, the women have made tremendous strides and have asserted themselves as a force in the OUA.

The bronze medals are the first medals of any colour for the York water polo program in three years. The women were the last ones to finish in the top three, winning the silver in 2005, while the men last won a medal in 2000 when they were crowned OUA champions.

As part of the weekend festivities, six York players were named OUA all-stars at the annual awards banquet. Duffield, Csikos and Knowles were named to the first team while Forde, Mercer and Smith were named to the second team.

Back home at York, many of the Lions interuniversity teams were in action on campus, where the student-athletes participated in basketball, hockey and volleyball as they continued their respective regular seasons. This weekend is a quiet one at York as only the men’s hockey team will be in action, on Thursday night at Canlan Ice Sports beginning at 7pm. The Lions (7-5-0-1) will host the No. 7-ranked Laurier Golden Hawks (10-2-0-1) in the first of two meetings between these teams this year.

The Lions come into the contest riding a three-game winning streak that includes victories over a pair of top 10 teams, the Lakehead Thunderwolves and Waterloo Warriors. In their most recent outing last weekend, York cruised to an easy 5-1 triumph over the Western Mustangs thanks to two goals and an assist from Adam Ross and four assists from Scott Restoule.

Submitted to YFile by Alyson Grant, sport & recreation information officer