VNL RD 7: HAWKS CLOSE TO CLEAN SWEEP AGAIN
A fourth consecutive win for our Championship team, a third win on the trot for Division 1 and a gutsy performance from our 19/U team made for an enthralling Round 7 in the Victorian Netball League.
Here’s how the Hawks performed.
Hawks Netball’s Championship team extended its winning streak to four games but were pushed every step of the way by a determined Boroondara Express in Round 7.
In a high-scoring opening quarter it was Express that took the early ascendancy, leading 17-16. The Hawks swung changes in the second quarter, calling on Kelsey Buxton at centre and Lil O’Sullivan at wing attack, with Tayla Kearns shifted to wing defence in a bid to water down speedy Express midcourter Sarah Wolff’s influence, and fought to hold the margin at a goal – 30-31 – at half-time.
A 17-12 third quarter had the Hawks seemingly ready to break the game open, but Express hit back again in the last and put themselves in a winning position, before Hawks goal keeper Shannon Rennison awoke for a five-minute burst, orchestrating a series of turnovers with goal defence Clare Pettyfor to help the Hawks creep clear again and hang on to win 57-54.
Goal shooter Kim Commane (35 goals from 38 attempts) was named best on court for the second game running, with the ladder-leading Hawks now ready to face perennial finalists City West Falcons in Round 8 on Wednesday evening.
Division 1 kept their fine form rolling, winning all four quarters against Express to record a comfortable 63-39 win and remain in second place on the ladder.
The Hawks’ speed in attack was on full display in the first half, with wing attack Kate Fletcher and centre Olivia Gigli providing ample supply to goal shooter Daisy Hill, who had 32 goals against her name before half-time and finished with 39/42 for the match.
Leading 36-20 at the long break, the Hawks made numerous changes in the third quarter and ratcheted up the defensive pressure again, keeping Express to eight goals and extending their lead to 22 goals, and rode out a short lull in the final quarter to win it 13-11 and complete the team’s third consecutive win.
Hawks co-captain Monique Lenehan-Moustafa said the Hawks, who now sit a game and a half clear in second place in Division 1, said full court defence had underpinned the team’s 6-1 start to the season.
“As a team, we had really good movement down the court and patience in and around the goal circle for the majority of the game,” she said.
“We have really been working on our full court defensive pressure this season and it was great to see it in practice, particularly over the last couple of games.
The Hawks’ 19/U team proved it can match it with the competition’s best teams, coming desperately close to downing equal ladder leaders Boroondara Express in a tight Round 7 tussle.
The young Hawks clicked from the outset, racing to a 6-1 lead in the first quarter and finishing with 15 goals for the term to lead 15-12 – their best start of the season.
Boroondara came hard in the second quarter but the Hawks were defiant, adding another 14 goals to maintain their three-goal advantage, with goal shooter Ellie Karaula helping herself to 11/11.
Errors began creeping in for both sides in the third quarter, with Express capitalising better to tie the scores at 39-39 with one quarter to play.
The Hawks rung in the changes in the last quarter as they chased their third win in a row, but Express proved the steadier in the closing stages, pulling clear to win 53-47.
The three Hawks teams will play their third games in eight days when they take on City West Falcons on Wednesday evening in VNL Round 8. Catch all the action from 7pm on Court 3 at the State Netball Hockey Centre.
7pm – 19/U
8.20pm – Division 1
9.40pm – Championship