Monash recovered from a slow first quarter to register a “very satisfying” seven-goal win over the Yarra Valley Grammar Ariels at the State Netball and Hockey Centre on Wednesday night.
The fourth-placed Central have taken great heart from knocking off the previously second-placed Ariels, especially after Round 3 draw couldn’t separate the two sides earlier in the season.
It was all Ariels in one-way traffic early on as Yarra Valley jumped out to a 6-1 lead, before Central pulled it back to within three goals at quarter time off the back of some strong defensive work from Centre, Michelle Andrews.
Monash were perhaps lucky not to be further behind when the Ariels nailed four the first six goals of the second quarter, before Monash went on a remarkable 12-1 run to not only take the lead, but also hold control of the remainder of the match.
The defensive trio of Kate Slattery, Melissa Wardle and Ebony Fietz were simply superb in constantly thwarting any attacking possessions of the Ariels, while both Shae Gee and Gabrielle Henderson showed nerves of steel.
The Monash goals both repeatedly knocked down shots to push Central to a six-goal half time lead.
Gee in particular continued her shooting clinic as the third quarter went almost goal-for-goal, before Monash extended their lead late in the term to lead by 12 goals at the final change.
Yet it was to be a heart in mouth final term, as Ariels pushed within five goals of the tiring Monash side, only to be saved once again by Gee, who’s final goal sealed a phenomenal shooting performance and the 50-43 win.
Speaking post-match, an elated coach in Jacqui Hansen told monashuniversitycentral.com.au she was pleased to get the win over a side that has historically been a “bogey side”.
“We’ve had a lot of great contests with them which are usually decided by one or two goals either way and even draws,” Hansen said.
“We had a real focus going into today about trying to rectify the areas we fell down in last time we played them.
“We implemented that for probably three quarters and really set ourselves up in that second quarter.
“We did drop off in that last quarter with a few tired legs, but we hung in there, shot well and got the win.”
Monash’s task gets all the more challenging with another top four clash against City West Falcons next Wednesday night at the State Netball and Hockey Centre.
FINAL SCORE: Monash University Central 50 def. Yarra Valley Grammar Ariels 43
MUC SCORERS: Shae Gee 36 (84%); Gabrielle Henderson 14 (82%)