Stingays fired up for semis

Kim Bonilla, Ann Mayo and Blake Miller of the Illawarra Stingrays will be seeking revenge in tomorrow’s qualifying semi-final against Sydney University. Picture: DAVE TEASEPayback is high on the agenda for the Illawarra Stingrays in tomorrow’s qualifying semi-final against Sydney University.

The Stingrays missed their chance at a fourth straight minor premiership but are determined to make amends by claiming a fourth consecutive crown.

Victory tomorrow would set up a major semi-final duel with top-ranked Macarthur.

Illawarra know Uni won’t roll out the welcome mat.

The Stingrays lost both of their meetings 1-0 during the season.

The players didn’t give a true account of themselves in either of those performances and are grateful for a shot at redemption.

“We definitely want some revenge. We have nothing to lose, so the pressure is more on the other team,” Illawarra’s American striker Kim Bonilla said.

“Unfortunately we didn’t have our best performances the two times we played against them.

“We have that in mind and we’re going towards this game with a lot of fire and determination.

“We know we didn’t give it our all and now is the time to prove to ourselves that we can do it and make up for some of the mistakes we’ve made in the past. This is like another opportunity’s been given to us so it’s exciting.”

The Stingrays warmed up for the play-offs with last week’s season-ending 8-0 drubbing of Blacktown.

“Everyone’s feeling good. We had a good session on Wednesday and there’s a really good vibe,” midfielder Ann Mayo said.

“We’re all pretty focused on the win because we’ve lost to Sydney Uni twice, so we really want to get up on them this weekend.

“In the first game against them we just had a bad day and weren’t clicking, but the second game we played well. We could’ve won but just couldn’t put our chances away. Hopefully this weekend those chances go in and we score some good goals.”

Falling short of a fourth successive minor premiership initially disappointed the Stingrays.

But they have regrouped and believe they can ease their pain with a fourth grand final triumph in as many years.

“Most definitely. We really want to retain the title,” Mayo said.

“We’re out to prove that we may not have won the [minor] premiership but our focus now is on making the grand final and winning it.”

Bonilla believes the Stingrays’ vast experience in finals matches will be crucial.

“People are feeling more comfortable in their positions and we’ve got people back from injury, so I think that will make a difference as well,” she said.

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