Sting finish strong to hold out spirited NNSW Blues

The Western Sting have enacted their revenge on NSW by posting a five goal victory over Netball NSW (NNSW) Blues, 56-51, in their final Week 5 match of the 2013 Australian Netball League (ANL), being played at the AIS Arena in Canberra.

After falling short to the Netball NSW Waratahs the day before, the Sting finished with a massive fourth quarter – outscoring the young Blues 18 goals to eight – to take victory from the NNSW Blues clutches.

Captain Jessica Calderara, who led from the front for the full 60 minutes, said although disappointing to come away with a loss she couldn’t be prouder of her Blues teammates.

“I’m really proud of how the girls played – I think that’s the first game that we’ve played such a high intensity for the full four quarters, so it was a great effort from the team,” Calderara said.

“There are plenty of positives to take from the match, but now moving forward we just need to cut down on our error rate – particularly in the final quarter.  We are sticking with these top teams and leading at three quarter time, but we just can’t finish off.”

“We need to get our heads on the game straight away, just play 15 minutes at a time, and adapt to any changes.  It’s good when teams do make changes because it means we have done our job the previous quarter, but we just need to adapt to those changes quicker,” Calderara concluded.

Although evenly matched for the first quarter, only a few turnovers allowed the Western Sting to capitalise to pull out to a five goal lead.  The young NSW side did well to adjust to the speed of the Sting and soon found their own rhythm.

Tanisha Stanton and Georgia M. Marshall at C and WA, respectively, worked hard to feed into their shooters with the NNSW Blues closing the gap on the scoreboard to two goals at the first break; Western Sting leading 15-13.

It was goal-for-goal for the second quarter however the relentless Sting man-on defence forced the errors to create turnovers.  Again the West Australians pulled out to a healthy four goal lead, and again the NNSW Blues worked overtime to close the deficit.

As they have in previous matches, the defensive partnership of Nicole Styles and Captain Jessica Calderara starred in the second quarter, shutting down the free movement of the Sting shooters and putting pressure on every shot.

Soon the NNSW Blues had narrowed the gap to just one goal with the Sting calling for a timeout to regather. The short break did little to disrupt the run of play as the two teams continued to trade goals. With a centre pass in the final 30 seconds the NNSW Blues hit the front, taking a one goal lead into the big break, 25-24.

The NNSW Blues came out firing for the start of the second half, scoring eight goals to five in the opening minutes.  But the Sting weren’t to be outdone, using their speed through the court to give their shooters possession and had soon clawed back the deficit to just two.

The ball swung from end to end with neither gaining advantage as players threw themselves at every contest.  Back on at centre, Stanton was in everything – taking crucial intercepts in defence while feeding with pin-point accuracy to her shooters.

In a high-scoring third quarter, the NNSW Blues outscored the Sting 18 goals to 14 to extend their lead, 43-38, heading in to the final 15 minutes.

Just as they had done against the NNSW Waratahs the previous day, the Western Sting made a wrath of changes for the fourth quarter.  The changes seemed to lift the Sting who, after five minutes of play, took back the lead.

As the Sting’s bench became more vocal the side began to lift, as the intensity of the match began to take its toll on the young NNSW Blues.  Soon the Sting had worked themselves to a five goal lead and despite the NNSW Blues leaving everything on court, took a 56-51 victory in a thrilling netball display.

Quarter-by-Quarter Scores
NNSW BLUES Q1: 13 – Q2: 25 (12) – Q3: 43 (18) – Q4: 51 (8)
WESTERN STING Q1: 15 – Q2: 24 (9) – Q3: 38 (14) – Q4: 56 (18)

Shooting Statistics
NNSW BLUES: 51/59 @ 86%
Georgia Marshall: 29/34 @ 85%
Holly Pearce: 22/25 @ 88%

WESTERN STING: 56/70 @ 80%
Lisa Millman: 8/13 @ 62%
Arahi Wall: 31/36 @ 86%
Ellie Smart: 17/21 @ 81%

Teams Starting Positions
NNSW BLUES: GS Georgia Marshall, GA Holly Pearce, WA Georgia M. Marshall, C Tanisha Stanton, WD Sophie Halpin, GD Jessica Calderara (c), GK Nicole Styles

WESTERN STING: GS Lisa Millman, GA Arahi Wall, WA Ingrid Colyer, C Lindal Rohde, WD Alicia Janz, GD Lauren Miller, GK Alice Coackley

Positional Changes
Q2 – C Halpin, WD Katie Maguire; Q3 – C Stanton; Q4 Timeout – C Halpin.

Q2 Timeout – C Numi Tupaea; Q3 – GS Ellie Smart, GD Kate Schleicher, GK Lauren Muller; Q4 – GS Wall, GA Smart, C Rohde, WD Adrea Gilmore (c), GD Janz, GK Coackley.