The Hawks’ 19/U team is back on the winner’s list, with all three Hawks Netball teams enjoying wins against Wilson Storage Southern Saints in Round 14 of the Victorian Netball League.
Accurate goaling saved the Hawks’ Championship division team, which had to fight every step of the way against a determined Southern Saints side before recording a 51-44 win, despite having eight fewer shooting attempts.
The Hawks’ goalers missed just one shot between them across the four quarters, with Kim Commane netting 33 goals from 34 attempts, Tayla Shannon eight from eight and Nat Billings 10 from 10, while at the other end Saints finished with 44 from 60.
It wasn’t the usual clean display from the Hawks, however they still found a way to win and remain in top position on the ladder with four rounds remaining, having extended their winning streak to 11 games.
Saints grabbed the early ascendancy, leading 15-12 at quarter-time, but the Hawks’ defence began to click in the second quarter, holding Saints to seven goals while a reshuffle in the attack end saw 13 goals scored to open up a 25-22 half-time lead.
The Hawks’ best quarter of the match came in the third, with 15 goals and wing defence Kaela Hughes, goal defence Clare Pettyfor and goal keeper Shannon Rennison again restricting Saints to seven goals to extend the lead to 11.
Saints made a big charge early in the final term, closing the gap to five, but some late goals limited the damage and allowed the Hawks to hang on by seven.
It was a big return to form for the Hawks’ Division 1 team, which bounced back from two consecutive losses to stitch up an 11-goal win against Southern Saints.
With Saints having inflicted the Hawks’ first loss of the season in Round 4, there was an added edge before the game, but it was the Hawks who settled first, taking a five-goal lead early in the first quarter before Saints grabbed a few back to trail 12-10 at quarter-time.
The second quarter saw the Hawks take off as they capitalised on a series of turnovers, scoring 16 goals to Saints’ nine and establishing a nine-goal lead at the long break.
It was more of the same in the third as the Hawks added another 17 goals to nine, with Bridgette Furphy (31 from 35) scoring a perfect 12 from 12 and Nikki Tulley continuing to send through solid supply at wing attack.
Saints hit back in the final quarter but it wasn’t enough to get close, with Hawks going on to win 53-42, which keeps them in third position on the ladder – only half a game off top spot.
A consistent four-quarter effort paved the way for a confidence-boosting 51-34 win for the Hawks’ 19/U team.
Having endured five losses in a row – four of them by 10 goals or less – the Hawks weathered a solid first quarter against Saints, trailing 10-11, before putting their foot down to win the second quarter 16-10.
Both teams battled to make things stick in the third, with the ball ping-ponging up and down the court and just 15 goals scored between them, with the Hawks extending their lead by one to carry a 34-28 scoreline into three-quarter time.
From there it was all the Hawks, with a 17-6 final quarter putting an exclamation mark on a great result.
Missing regular goal attack option Hayley Matthews, fellow goalers Ellie Karaula (four from five) and Olivia Morris (one from three) stepped up to help pick a path through to goal shooter Kaia Giles, who shot 46 goals from 54 attempts in her best performance for the club, while Eloise Freeman, Kassidy Withers, Holly Keating and second-gamer Georgia Hellyer stayed strong through the midcourt.
“The game was an all-round team effort – every single girl put in and contributed to the win,” Freeman said.
“We were backing each other and had much more communication on and off the court than usual, which was great to hear.”
“Everyone stayed positive and calm throughout the game and we were all motivated to win, especially for Hayley.
“Our defence was really strong, our goalers were very accurate and there was great speed through the midcourt. I’m very proud of the girls’ efforts.”
Round 15 will see the Hawks take on Melbourne University Lightning in a weekend game at the State Netball Hockey Centre on Sunday, July 29.
19/U – 12.30pm
Championship – 2pm
Division 1 – 3.30pm