A fiercely contested USSA Water Polo final between neighbouring rivals UCT and Maties Sport culminated in victory for the Stellenbosch University host side, with both the men's and women's teams taking the titles.
Maties won the women's final 6-5 and the men also claimed their win with a single point, finishing 13-12 against UCT.
USSA Water Polo has been dominated by Maties and UCT since 2010 with Maties Women leading their rivals by six titles to two. There were no tournaments in 2015 and 2016. By winning the 2019 title the Maties Women defended their 2018 title successfully.
It was the men's first title since 2017. UCT has won six titles since 2010 and Maties two.
It was an extra special day for Gemma Haywood and Georgia Moir, who played their last match for the Maroon Machine. For most of the year Haywood had been player, captain and coach of the team. Luckily, the team got some help from Ryan Weideman for the USSA tournament. But Haywood kept her leading focus by setting the tone with the first goal of the final.
“This team is driven by hard work, passion and love for the game. 'Train how you play' is what I've always believed. What an incredible send-off at Maties Water Polo this was!" said Haywood.
Men's coach, Vaughn Marlow, said: “The USSA win was the culmination of a long road and process where the victory at the end was just a by-product of the systems we had put in place. Ultimately, I was happy with the way we played. Victory or no victory, it wouldn't have changed the way we felt. It was all about the process and not the result. Although… the victory was really nice!"