Preliminary Final Sparks v Hawks: Opens

Posted by: Sparks Netball
September 15, 2017

PRELIMINARY FINAL: UTS St George Sparks 63 d ERNA Hawks 44

The stage is set for an exciting Semi Final rematch after UTS St George Sparks convincingly overcame ERNA Hawks, 63-44, in last night’s sudden-death Preliminary Final. As a result, the Sparks will meet Manly Warringah Sapphires who narrowly defeated them by two goals in the Major Semi Final, setting the scene for another exciting match-up between the rivals.

Sparks managed to secure an early lead on the scoreboard last night against the Hawks, with goal shooter Kristina Brice providing a strong target in the circle, while goal defence Nicole Styles worked overtime to win possession in the Hawks’ attacking third.

However the Hawks weren’t to be deterred and, after being down by as many as five goals early in the game, clawed their way back to within level to see the game go goal-for-goal. So this continued until, in the quarter’s final minute, solid defensive pressure rewarded UTS with a crucial possession gain, giving them a slight advantage on the scoreboard to end the opening term up by two.

The Hawks continued to put the pressure on the UTS attack as the game recommenced, with wing defence Sophie Halpin winning two key intercepts in a row. However her teammates couldn’t convert their opportunities thanks to a strong opposition defence, giving the Sparks a little breathing space.

With another late surge, the Sparks extended their advantage to eight goals at the big break, 30-22.

And if the opening half had been a motion of momentum switch, the penultimate quarter belonged solely to the Sparks. UTS were unstoppable as they went on to outscore the Hawks, 20 goals to 10, to take control of the game. With their defence on the hunt for intercepts, the Sparks were quick to transition from, and capitalise on, their turnovers.

Staring at an 18-goal deficit heading into the final stanza, the Hawks had a huge task on their hands. However credit to the side who did not give up the fight, taking it to UTS for the rest of the game. After making a few positional changes in their attacking end, the Hawks were able to regain some of the momentum lost in the third quarter.

Keeper Madeleine Lakajev won two key intercepts in a row to lift her side; however it was all a little too late as the Sparks’ third quarter performance helped set up their 19-goal win to see them through to the title decider >>> GET YOUR GRAND FINAL TICKETS HERE.

Quarter-by-Quarter Scores
SPARKS | Q1: 15 – Q2: 30 (15) – Q3: 50 (20) – Q4: 63 (13)
HAWKS | Q2: 13 – Q2: 22 (9) – Q3: 32 (10) – Q4: 44 (12)

Starting Line-Ups
SPARKS | GS Kristina Brice, GA Beryl Friday, WA Kaitlyn Bryce, C Tayla Fraser, WD Amy Parmenter, GD Nicole Styles, GK Kara Styles.

HAWKS | GS Amy Sommerville, GA Kiera Austin, WA Taylah Davies, C Emily Keenan, WD Sophie Halpin, GD Jessica Grant (Calderara), GK Madeleine Lakajev.

Shooting Statistics
SPARKS: 63/75 @ 84%
K Brice: 40/47 @ 85%
B Friday: 22/26 @ 85%
L Towell: 1/2 @ 50%

HAWKS: 44/58 @ 75%
A Sommerville: 16/19 @ 84%
K Austin: 11/18 @ 61%
A Cairns: 11/14 @ 79%
E Bills: 6/7 @ 86%

Positional Changes
SPARKS | Q3: WA Claire O’Brien, C Bryce; Q4 Timeout: GA Laura Towell; Q4 Timeout (2): GK Olivia Rowntree.

HAWKS | Q3 Timeout: GS Alisha Cairns; Q4: GA Emily Bills, GD Laura McLaren, GK Jessica Grant.

FINALS FIXTURES
Major Semi Final | Manly Warringah Sapphires 56 d UTS St George Sparks 54
Minor Semi Final | ERNA Hawks 55 d Sutherland Stingrays 42
Preliminary Final | UTS St George Sparks 63 d ERNA Hawks 44
Grand Final | Manly Warringah Sapphires v UTS St George Sparks, 7.30pm WED 20 SEP

Original Post: http://www.samsungpremierleague.com.au/sparks-claim-maiden-title/