Stingrays stay in finals contention

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Michelle Carney scored one of the Stingrays' goals in their win over Sydney University on Sunday.

Michelle Carney scored one of the Stingrays' goals in their win over Sydney University on Sunday.

Illawarra Stingrays kept themselves in the finals fray with a gutsy 3-2 win over Sydney University on Sunday.

Knowing anything but a win would put their finals hopes in jeopardy, the Rays put in a polished display away from home.

Michelle Carney and Erica Halloway got Illawarra off to a dream start with two first-half goals before Jordan Baker eased the pressure in the second stanza with a vital third.

Coach Graham Shaw said his side was impressive under pressure.

"We are just playing with a steely determination and just want it more than other teams," Shaw said.

"Whether we get ahead in games we are determined not to let them back into it or if we go a goal behind, we are just showing that determination to get the result over 90 minutes.

"The work rate and intensity of the team and going after the results we need has been impressive.

"We have always had it, but it has definitely been on show in recent games."

Carney opened the scoring in the opening half an hour with a skilful turn and shot which found the top corner.

The advantage was doubled after Caitlin Cooper went on a magnificent run and crossed to find Halloway at the back post.

Down 2-0 at the break, the Students got a goal back shortly after half-time but the Stingrays' nerves were settled when Baker got the club's third.

University got another goal back at the death, but it proved only a consolation as Illawarra claimed the three points.

It sees the Rays (34 points) move level on the ladder with University in third and fourth spot.

But with Football NSW Institute (34) and Manly United (33) both hot on their heals with a game up their sleeves, Illawarra can't afford a slip-up in the final two rounds.

"If we get five from five we could nearly get there on our own accord but because of some of the fixtures, some of the results will have to go our way," Shaw said.

The win came at a cost with Rhiannon Fensom (knee) and Jess Ellis (ankle) both going off with injuries.

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