By Zac Lisle
Monash University Storm’s Division 1 team continued their amazing form in the back-half of the season to record a nine goal win over top four side Peninsula Waves at the State Netball and Hockey Centre on Wednesday night.
It was the Storm’s fifth consecutive win, and although the top-four is out of reach, it cemented fifth spot for Jacqui Hansen’s team.
The Storm took the ascendency early taking a five-goal lead into quarter time on the back of eight goals from shooter Nat Billings. Billings ended with a game-high 26 goals from 35 attempts, drawing praise from Hansen.
“I thought Nat Billings had a standout game,” Hansen said. “She shot beautifully, she was composed, she just played her role tonight.”
Monash held a three goal lead at half time, but it was a thirteen to six goal third quarter that broke the game apart, and the fresh legs and sharp attitudes of the Storm were able to hold off any comeback from the third-placed Waves, taking the win 43-34.
“It’s kind of nice when, at the start of the season, we had slim pickings,” Hansen said of the full bench Monash boasted.
“To be able to throw the options just depending on what was working, what wasn’t working, to bring on fresh legs, and to change the dynamic in the midcourt and pretty much all over the court it just keeps the opposition guessing but it also gives the girls the opportunity to be rewarded for all the hard work they’re doing.”
Another pleasing aspect for the Storm is the turnaround from their first encounter with the Waves, which Monash lost by ten goals.
“Tonight was a huge game for us because they beat us the first time around and we didn’t play well then, they outmuscled us,” Hansen said. “Tonight we maintained our composure throughout the whole game, and they threw a lot at us.”
“Our defensive pressure across the entire court tonight was outstanding, we’ve been doing a lot of work on that, and we’ve been doing a lot of work on riding those physical contests, and I couldn’t be more proud with all the turnovers and all of the held balls the girls created, they set themselves up right from the get-go.”
Hansen heaped praise the defensive end as a whole after the win, and was quick to single out the hard work from wing defence Ebony Roberts.
“Ebony Roberts had a cracking game, she just wears the wing attack like a bib and every ball is a contest,” she said.
“They (the defensive end) just worked so well as a unit. They created turnovers, they got rebounds, and they forced the opposition to back-pass a lot.”
The Storm will face the Melbourne University Lightning in their final game of the season next Wednesday at the State Netball and Hockey Centre.
Monash Uni Storm 43
Peninsula Waves 34
Goals: N.Billings 26 (75%), S.Gee 8 (43%), G.Henderson 5 (72%), M.Lenehan-Moustafa 4 (45%)
Best: E.Roberts, N.Billings, M.Byrne, B.Aughton, J.Collins