By Zac Lisle
Monash University Storm has bounced back from their largest defeat of the season in spectacular fashion, toppling ladder-leaders City West Falcons by four goals in their Round 11 clash at the State Netball and Hockey Centre on Wednesday night.
An administrative error last round saw the Storm field just six players for the best part of three quarters, resulting in a 20 goal loss to the DC North East Blaze, but Monash were determined to make amends from the first whistle.
The Storm started strong, stretching the lead to as many as nine goals in the first quarter, thanks to some energetic mid-court play from Lillian O’Sullivan and Alicia Janz, as well as a different look defensively.
“We decided to start Clare Pettyfor at goal defence and Helen Barclay at keeper,” Head Coach Matt Hills said after the game. “We wanted match-ups for certain players and for certain types.”
The starting defensive positions were different from previous weeks, notably Pettyfor’s move to goal defence after coming up from the Division 1 side last week.
“Clare Pettyfor played a massive role for us, she played the role that we wanted.” Hills said.
The game also saw a much-improved shooting effort from the Storm, with Janelle Lawson scoring 32 goals from 41 attempts, and Tayla Shannon 16 from 22.
Hills was relatively happy with the shooting numbers.
“(In) the third quarter we were ten from 16 but apart from that we shot some really good numbers,” he said. “We scored 48 goals, including 16 in the first quarter, and any time you get a 10-1 lead you’ve got to be able to ride that wave of momentum.”
Hills said the win was a result of a positive week behind the scenes, and labeled the team as “the phoenix that rises from the ashes”.
“We had a really good discussion at training, we had a couple of meetings and a bit of a ‘deep and meaningful’ and we picked ourselves to bits,” Hills said. “We knew we’d been training well but we hadn’t been bringing it on court.”
The Storm, currently seventh on the ladder with seven games remaining, still have their sights set on finals, and will take on second-placed Booroondara Express next week with a huge amount of self-belief.
“For now we go home with a smile on our face and look forward to next week,” Hills said.