Cougars came out strong this week at the Bupa VNL with each division taking home a convincing win. With some dynamic plays and landslide margins, catch up everything Round 7 had to offer.
Hawks needed a win Wednesday night to secure their place in the top 4 while Blaze were fighting their way back to 1st place. Both clearly had an agenda for their abilities as a VNL sides not to be questioned.
An unsettled start from Hawks saw them playing catch-up to Blaze who came out with a heightened intensity after their win against Casey last week. With a 16-goal advantage at the end of the first half, Blaze were in a hard to beat position.
Despite strong attacking from Hawks in the mid court, Blaze’s movement down the court could not be defeated. Strategic feeding into their goalers allowed them to swiftly secure goals and finish off the smooth transition work of Ella Bayliss, Kali Dolphin and Elle McDonald.
Hawks defenders Shannon Rennison and Clare Pettyfor brought back the intensity in the second half but with Libby Nicol shooting at 98%, Blaze couldn’t be stopped and secured themselves a 24-goal victory.
In a match of 1st place against 10th, Falcons took out a convincing win against Boroondara to remain undefeated in the 2019 season.
Boroondara brought the intensity in the first quarter to keep themselves in the game, only a 5-point margin. Strong pressure down the midcourt and taking possession of Boroondara’s rebounds allowed Falcons to capitalise on the opportunities needed to mature their lead in the second half.
Still undefeated, Falcons outscored Boroondara by 15 goals in the last half to see add another win to their books, 65-47.
Ariels took out a needed win against Lightning to make it their second of the season so far. Trailing by 5-points in the first quarter, they switched gears going into the second to obtain a steady lead that saw them come out on top, 51-47.
Ariels Goal-Attack, Stacey Gannon, reflected on her team’s success.
“It was a tough contest the whole game, a close contest the whole way through.”
“We gave them a bit of a lead in the beginning and then we fought back. We had control after we got that momentum,
“They kept coming back at us but we were strong enough tonight to just keep the lead, really building on it, and every time they challenged we fought back and got it back.”
According to Gannon, it was the ability to capitalise on turnovers tonight that made the biggest difference in their game.
Adding to an improved dynamic were two Division One Ariels player who were brought up into Championship this week.
Gannon said Alex Maher in goals, who shot 18-goals, and Jane Higgs down in defence complimented each other incredibly well and made a huge impact to the end result.
“Alex played amazing she really stepped up to it and in defence Jane stepped up to cover the shoulders of their tall Goal-Shooter which helped a lot.”
Another win on the board, Gannon is optimistic for her season with a team she loves to play with.
“Obviously you want to win but it’s small goals to achieve the big one,
“Each game by game keep progressing, get that win on the board and tick it off.”
Another solid first quarter of the night, Cougars drove hard and fast to the ball to execute some impressive passes and showcase their intricacy of play.
With Cougars leading by 13-goals at the end of half time, a second half surge of power in Casey’s defence down the midcourt forced turnovers to result in goals.
An evenly matched scoring game, Casey shooting with an accuracy of 84% and Geelong at 85%, Cougars advantage in the first half allowed them to lead over four quarters and achieve a 9-goal win.
A second half comeback from Hawks saw them just fall short against undefeated North East Blaze. Blaze took a commanding lead that was sustained with the help of their precision passing.
Down by 6-goals at the end of the second half, Hawks continued fighting throughout the third quarter to outscore Blaze in the third quarter shooting 13-goals to Blaze’s 9. Hawks closing the gap to 3-points in the last quarter, Blaze powered through the attack end to put pressure over the ball and make it increasingly difficult for Hawks to get the ball into their goals.
On the backend of a 2-point win, Blaze will look for their eighth consecutive win against Ariels next week.
In a competitively rough contest, 4th placed Boroondara took on 6th placed City West Falcons to keep their name in the top 4.
From the get-go, close contact defence from both teams hinted a physical contest for control.
Maddy Wallmeyer, Boroondara team captain, said the game was the most intense thus far in the season.
“It felt like a Grand Final to work that hard for the full 60-minutes and come away with the win by 2-points is just a really good feeling, especially after last week from a pretty disappointing loss.”
Boroondara, down by 9 in the first quarter, fought their way back in the second quarter to bring their score closer to Falcons, 33-31.
Only 1-goal separating the two at three quarter time, Boroondara lifted their pressure on the ball immensely to get up on Falcons by 2-goals with seconds to go. Boroondara Goal-Defender, Taylah Brown, broke Falcons final centre for her team to score one last goal and walk away with a 3-goal win.
Wallmeyer felt every person in her team played their role which ultimately secured them the win.
“Defenders just kept chipping away against the goalers and I can’t fault what they do. They just played outstanding, trusted in each other, trusted in the process and when it counted got the turnovers,”
“Our passing in our attacking end is our speciality. We tell ourselves that short and sharp is what we’re the best at and we go with that game plan.”
Wallmeyer was impressed with the abilities of Ruby Barkmeyer in goals, who currently sits in the top 5 for 2019 MVP.
“Ruby just the hits she could take and her shooting accuracy, she could bomb them from anywhere, and even her defensive pressure. If she made a mistake, the way she could turn it over was just outstanding.”
With another win on the board and 4th spot secure, Wallmeyer and her team are determined to make it to finals.
“By getting those wins on the board and not dropping those easy wins will make sure we keep on top of teams instead of fading away.”
Lightning saw their second win of the season as they played a steady and controlling game of netball against Ariels. Lightning’s consistent dynamic to anticipate the movement and placement of team mates to pass to could not be slowed, taking an 8-goal lead at the end of the first half.
Strength from Lightning’s defence to intervene with Ariel’s goal focus, especially form Goal-Keeper Sally Hunter, allowed them to increase their lead over the course of the match. Lightning stole an outstanding 20-point final quarter to end up with a hard-earned 22-goal win.
2nd from the top took on 2nd from the bottom as Cougars took on Casey Demons.
Defeating Boroondara by 6-goals last week, Cougars winning streak continued. Demonstrating similar dominance to their season opener against Ariels, Cougars took some impressive intercepts to gain a lead that couldn’t be faulted.
Another week of inspiring defence work from Cougars Goal-Keeper, Laura Giles was compelling to watch. An 85% goal accuracy from Cougars goaler, Bridgette Furphy finished off the execution of teams’ versatility down the court.
19 & Under
Another close match for the two associations, Hawks and Blaze’s 19 & Under teams provided a nail-biter of a match. A maximum of two goals separated the teams over the majority of the match but the last quarter intensity from Hawks saw them walk away with a 5-goal win.
Some missed goals for Blaze in the latter half of the match allowed Hawks to capitalise and achieve goals from their defenders’ rebounds to win my 5-goals.
Boroondara came out strong to take an 8-goal advantage over Geelong in the first quarter.
Their lead was short lived as Cougars began to click in the second quarter, adding 22-goals and upping their defensive pressure to hold Express’s to 5. It was the second half that really saw Cougars switch gears and take back control and seize a 12-goal win over Boroondara.
Ariels were out to prove a point after last week’s loss. A consistent game from both teams, it was the teamwork of Ariels centre Clara Choi and goaler Kelly Grace that shone and helped them achieve an impressive 13-goal victory.
Only leading by 1-goal at the end of the first quarter, Ariels to take control of the game in the second quarter to shoot 18-goals and lead by 10. Ariels tight plays saw them come out on top, 54-41.
Another match of 1st against 10th, Geelong’s 2-goal lead in the first quarter extended to 20-goal win to retain top spot on the 19 & Under ladder.
Despite a slow start from Cougars in the first quarter, they fired back in the second quarter. A standout match for Ellen Doyle who went between Goal-Shooter and Goal-Keeper to still shoot an outstanding 45 goals with an accuracy of 85%.
Round 7 continues Friday night where Wilson Storage Southern Saints and Peninsula Waves match up at Mentone Grammar.
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Written by Amellia Wood