By David Turner - Monash Leader
FOR a team that had earmarked 2017 as the first step on a long path back to the top, Monash University Storm is looking a little more like a contender than a renovator.
On Wednesday night, the Storm hammered cellardwellers Ariels 59-36 at the State Netball Hockey Centre to make it three wins in the past four matches.
And that lone defeat was an encouraging performance against finals candidate City West Falcons.
It’s been quite a month and the Storm (3-4) now sits in sixth place, two games adrift of the top four.
“We’re a bit ahead of where I thought we’d be,” coach Jacqui Hansen said.
“But the girls are working so hard and getting the rewards for it.
“Having a win is fine but it doesn’t mean a thing if you drop your bundle the next week.
“Yes we’ve had three wins in four weeks but we need to maintain that consistency and that’s the hard thing, particularly with a young group.”
Shannon Rennison (goalkeeper) shut down the Ariels offence while Nat Billings (32-from-37, 87 per cent) and Kim Commane (25-from-32, 79 per cent) were on-song at the attack end.
With a busy couple of weeks ahead in Super Netball, Melbourne Vixens limited Commane to just three quarters this week and, with back-up goaler Tayla Shannon still sporting an ankle injury, veteran defender Clare Pettyfor came off the bench in the second quarter, shooting two-from-six before moving on to goal defence.
Billings, a seasoned goalshooter, has been a brilliant partner in crime to Commane at goal attack this season.
“She was always a goalshooter,” Hansen said. “This year she has stepped into the captaincy role and she’s just a natural leader.
“She gives us another shooting option and defenders don’t know who to go to.”
While happy to win three matches in quick time, Hansen said she was most pleased that her young squad had bought-in on the club’s goals of improving the culture and building for future success.
“We as coaches are banging on that we’re not after a quick solution, we're planning for two or three years,” she said. “And what we are already hearing is the girls are starting to say that too.”
Monash University will look to continue its recent run of good form when it takes on ACU Sovereigns at state headquarters on Wednesday night.