Thursday, 23 May 2013

Championship: Monash hold off Ariels to continue mid-season surge

Monash have continued their mid-season resurgence, beating a dogged Yarra Valley Grammar Ariels outfit by 11 goals on Wednesday night at State Netball and Hockey Centre.

The win is the third in succession for MUC, the first time they have achieved that feat in season 2013 and also sees them jump into the top four on the Devine VNL Championship ladder for the first time since Round 3.

Slightly uncharacteristically, Monash started well enough to lead 4-2 within the first five minutes of a match before a 9-2 run saw them establish a lead that eventually proved too much for the Ariels.

However, Yarra Valley refused to submit to MUC led in no small part by Ariels’ Goal Shooter, netting 34 goals from just 37 attempts and giving the normally composed Georgie Davenport a bit to think about at the other end.

While Stephanie Tyrell’s shooting was near flawless in the first quarter, she and goaling partner Stacey Northey appeared to lose their way in the next few quarters, missing fairly regulation shots.

It would do little to affect the eventual outcome, although there was some cause for concern when Tyrell was substituted midway through the last quarter clutching her elbow. She later went to hospital to have scans.

Yarra Valley twice pulled within six points of the deficit during the third and fourth quarters, but in the end the composure of Lauren Tscharke and Lil O’Sullivan through the mid court was enough to see Monash home for the 60-49 win.

Playing both at Wing Defence and Goal Defence, Tara Cecil stepped up her own performance with some key deflections and interceptions in one of her better performances for the year.

Speaking post match, coach Leesa Maxfield told it wasn’t a pretty match, but the result counted the most in the end.

“Our intensity just wasn’t there tonight, at times we probably played for the sake of playing,” Maxfield said.

“Take nothing away from Ariels, they played well. There were times where we didn’t have any answers for the way they were playing.

“We didn’t do execute a lot of the basics of our game many times, but I guess we were still consistent enough to win and win well.”

Maxfield admitted Tyrell’s injury and some ill-health to Tscharke – who was also subbed at three-quarter-time – threw a spanner in the works, bring on unestablished players after two games in four days.

“Throwing Sarah in for less than a quarter after a physical game against Swisse was really our only option,” Maxfield said.

“It wasn’t ideal and also having Sophie (Knights) out there was a challenge.

“But the goals managed to keep coming even having Stacey (Northey) out at Goal Attack and we got ourselves over the line.”

Next week sees the clash with bitter rivals, City West Falcons next Wednesday night at the State Netball and Hockey Centre.

FINAL SCORE: Monash University Central 60 def. Yarra Valley Grammar Ariels 49

MUC SCORERS: Stacey Northey 33 (79%), Stephanie Tyrell 25 (79%), Sarah Main 2 (40%)

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