HAWKS NETBALL RISES TO TOP IN ROUND 6
Three out of three wins for the second week in a row, one team on top of the ladder and another team in second.
It’s been another huge week in the Victorian Netball League for the Hawks, who were up and about in a big way in Round 6.
Hawks Netball’s Championship division team has grabbed top spot on the VNL ladder after taking down the league-leading Melbourne University Lightning in Round 6.
The Hawks faced their sternest test yet when they took on the 2016 premiers and 2017 runners-up, who had won five in a row despite missing a handful of players through Australian Netball League commitments or injury. Meanwhile the Hawks were positioned second, having suffered just one loss against DC North East Blaze in Round 2.
And the match well and truly lived up to its billing in the first half, with the Hawks trailing 10-14 at quarter-time but chipping away in the second quarter to be down by only a single goal – 25-26 – at the half-time break.
The Lightning swung a major goaling change in the third quarter, while the Hawks switched centre Tayla Kearns into wing defence in a bid to quell the dangerous Dani Stewart, and introduced Monique Tarrant at centre. The moves yielded almost instant results, with the Hawks outscoring Lightning 15-6 and taking a 40-32 lead at the final change.
A burst of goals early in the final quarter put the result beyond doubt but the Hawks continued pushing right through to the end, taking the quarter 17-13 and delivering a 57-43 win.
Vice-captain Clare Pettyfor said the result was an indication to the growing belief the team has individually and as a collective.
“It was a really great team win. MU are a quality side and we were really excited by the challenge,” she said.
“It wasn’t anything flashy, everyone just played their role and our pressure across the court was relentless. We’ve spoken a lot about staying disciplined to our structures and having belief in our systems and each other and this win really solidified that when we do this we can match it with the best sides in the competition.”
The Hawks will now back up on Sunday for Round 7 against the seventh-placed Boroondara Express.
The Division 1 team has moved up to second place on the ladder after a comprehensive 61-32 win against Melbourne Uni Lightning.
Looking to make another statement after last week toppling the third-placed Selkirk Sovereigns, the Hawks announced their intent early, racing to a 17-7 lead at quarter-time, with goal shooter Daisy Hill netting 14/15.
The second and third quarters saw the team maintain the same brand of defensive pressure, with the Lightning restricted to just seven goals in each. Meanwhile a string of positional changes at half-time saw the Hawks build momentum again in attack, racking up another 17 goals to take a 28-goal lead at three-quarter time.
The Lightning made a four-goal run early the final quarter but the Hawks steadied to reestablish their advantage and run out 29 goal winners.
Goal defence Chloe Sinclair earned the umpires’ three votes, goal attack Monique Lenehan-Moustafa receive two in her best game of the season and centre Olivia Gigli scored another vote to take her season tally to 11 and sit atop the Division 1 MVP race.
Boroondara Express, who beat Lightning by seven goals last week, is the next assigment in Round 7 on Sunday.
The Hawks’ 19/U outfit collected its second consecutive win in a hard-fought contest against MU Lightning.
Having secured their first win of the season last week against Selkirk Sovereigns, the Hawks were made to work for it against the winless Lightning, but a stellar last quarter was enough to seal the 49-39 result.
The teams traded goals throughout the first three quarters. The Hawks led 11-9 at quarter-time, extended their advantage by a goal in a low-scoring second quarter to lead 19-16 at half-time, and added a further goal to their buffer to be in front 31-27 at the last change.
Having been rested in the third quarter, Ellie Karaula was reintroduced at goal shooter in the final quarter and provided the target that cracked the game open, netting 14 of her 15 attempts for the quarter amid a steady stream of supply from midcourters Jasmine Ferguson, who was awarded the umpires’ three votes, and Kassidy Withers.
The team now faces a challenging few rounds heading towards the season’s halfway mark, with three of the top four teams awaiting in the next three games, beginning with the second-placed Boroondara Express on Sunday.
The Hawks take on Boroondara Express in a special weekend round on Sunday, June 3 at the State Netball Hockey Centre.
12.30pm – Division 1
1.50pm – Championship
3.10pm – 19/U