– by Ben Unger and Maddie Enriquez (Carlton College of Sport)
Hawks Netball hit its straps in Round 8 of the Victorian Netball League, clean-sweeping all three games against Ariels to chalk up some critical wins as the back half of the season began.
Check out our reports from all three divisions.
Played in front of a crowd for the first time since coronavirus restrictions were lifted, the Hawks’ night started started strongly as they took on Ariels in a battle for sixth spot on the Championship division ladder, running out 75-50 winners.
Goalers Nat Billings and Tayla Shannon were in fine form early, moving smoothly around the ring and taking full advantage of the midcourt dominance of centre Jasmine Ferguson, wing attack Ally Salter and wing defence Kelsey Buxton to post the team’s highest scoring quarter of the season and open up a 21-16 lead at the first break.
The lead grew to 10 by half-time and in the third quarter it was the Hawks’ defensive end’s turn to stand up, with Clare Johnson, Sally Deller and Chloe Sinclair putting the brakes on the prolific scoring of Melbourne Vixens shooter Rahni Samason, holding Ariels to just eight goals for the quarter as the scoreline blew out to 55-38.
It was all the Hawks again in the final quarter as they piled on a further 20 goals to 12 to record the club’s biggest win of the season and move to sixth on the ladder, two-and-a-half games outside the top four with seven rounds remaining.
The Hawks’ Division 1 side recorded a crucial result in the race for a finals berth, defeating Ariels 57-41 to remain within one win of the top four.
It was a high scoring first quarter for the Hawks as they opened up an 18-8 lead, with goalers Elle Rice and Monique Lenehan-Moustafa firing early and helping their side take advantage of their team’s dominance at the defensive end.
Ariels came out strongly in the second quarter, quickly trimming the margin to three goals before the Hawks steadied to restore their 10-goal advantage by the end of the first half.
The third quarter was all Hawks as fresh goal keeper Clare Pettyfor got busy intercepting, while at the other end goal shooter Sophie O’Shea chimed in with 11 goals for the quarter to establish a match-winning 21-goal margin.
The match of the night came in the 19/Under division, where the top-of-the-table Hawks were up against a strong top four competitor in the Ariels.
The first quarter saw Hawks and Ariels going goal for goal, before Ariels was able to capitalise on a series of intercepts to take the lead. A goal on the final whistle from Hawks goal attack Keeley Burgmann saw her side trailing 14-15.
The beginning of the second term saw Ariels extend their lead to four before Burgmann scored again, while some nice defensive work from wing defence Abigail Inglis and fast-paced movement through the midcourt saw Hawks score add three more quick goals to tie the scores midway through the quarter and briefly take the lead, before two late Ariels goals tied the scores 26-26 at the long break.
Entering the game to start the third quarter, Hawks goal shooter Dee Dee Deng impressed, opening with three unanswered goals while strong defensive play from Gemma Thomas and Eliza Molino saw them extend the lead further in the second half, pushing it out to six goals during the last quarter – a margin they would hold to the end for a 53-47 win.
Hawks remain in top spot on the 19/U ladder and a game-and-a-half clear of third-placed Melbourne Uni Lightning, who they take on in Round 9 on Wednesday evening at the State Netball Hockey Centre.
HAWKS vs LIGHTNING
Wednesday, July 7
State Netball Centre, Parkville
7pm – Championship
8.20pm – Division 1
9.40pm – 19/Under