Preliminary Final Sparks v Hawks: U20s

Posted by: Sparks Netball
September 15, 2017

PRELIMINARY FINAL: UTS St George Sparks 58 d ERNA Hawks 44

UTS have secured their place in the Samsung Premier League U20s Grand Final next week, after defeating ERNA, 58-44, in the sudden-death Preliminary Final.

It was do-or-die for both teams as they battled it out for a position in the title decider, and it was clear from the opening whistle that both teams had turned up to give it all they’ve got.

Navigating nerves to settle into the game, the opening minutes featured numerous turnovers from both teams. However the Hawks strong defence disrupted any flow in the UTS attacking end, forcing their opposition to undertake dangerous cross-court passes and stalling the circle feeds.

However, Spark’s midcourt were also just as impressive as they quickly transitioned to defender to stifle many conversion opportunities for Hawks – cutting off short drives and picking off long ball clearing attempts with solid intercepts as ERNA tried to move the ball to their attack end. Their efforts were rewarded with UTS enjoying a slight three-goal advantage at the first break.

After a stop-start opening 15 minutes, the Sparks began to find some momentum early in the second quarter. Their fast, yet controlled, game helped them evade the Hawk’s defence that had held them up in the first quarter.

The Sparks shooting combination of Georgia Westwood (GS) and Maddy Eaton (GA) grew with confidence as the game went on, and soon they began to have greater influence on the game. Their fluid movements and strong aerial capabilities helped extend Sparks lead to eight goals at the big break, after withholding a strong ERNA fightback in the shadows of half-time.

A rejuvenated Hawks side come out for the second half, determined to catch their opponents on the scoreboard. They looked to swing momentum after stalling their opposition’s opening centre pass, but the Sparks had other ideas.

With Centre Kaitlyn Fisher proving a powerhouse in the midcourt, combining well with defenders Paige Pirotta and Matilda McDonell, the Sparks were able to easily find their shooters in the circle to outscore the Hawks for the third consecutive quarter, putting UTS in a strong position as the game entered the final term.

Deciding on a raft of positional changes for the final 5 minutes, ERNA threw everything they had into the game to try and make up the scoreboard deficit. Centre Ebony Burnard won an impressive turnover for the Hawks by balancing precariously on the sideline, before safely clearing the ball for newly-introduced goal attack Sophie Dwyer to convert.

But the Hawks had no answers for preventing the Sparks quick ball movement, which was aided by strong driving down court from McDonell who had moved out to goal defence for the end of the game. Combined with strong rebounding at both ends, matched with patience and accuracy while in possession, the Sparks put an end to any Hawk’s resurgence to finish 15-goal victors.

UTS will now meet the Panthers in next week’s Grand Final on the Show Court at Genea Netball Centre, Tuesday 19 September at 7.30pm >>> GET YOUR GRAND FINAL TICKETS HERE.

Quarter-by-Quarter Scores
SPARKS | Q1: 14 – Q2: 30 (16) – Q3: 43 (13) – Q4: 58 (15)
HAWKS | Q1: 11 – Q2: 22 (11) – Q3: 29 (7) – Q4: 43 (14)

Starting Line-Ups
SPARKS | GS Georgia Westwood, GA Madeline Eaton, WA Tahisha Hunt, C Kaitlyn Fisher, WD Te-Arn Bradley, GD Paige Pirotta, GK Matilda McDonell.

HAWKS | GS Sophie Dwyer, GA Lauren Baxter, WA Ebony Burnard, C Capri Vidler, WD Chelsea Loughrey, GD Deni Ross, GK Olivia Coleman.

Positional Changes
SPARKS | Q4 Timeout: WD Paige Pirotta, GD Matilda McDonell, GK Ashleigh Selwyn.

HAWKS | Q3: WA R Quinn, C E Burnard; Q3 Timeout: GS Dellilah Koli, GD Sophie Kevern; Q4: GA Dwyer, WD Kevern, GD Coleman, GK Macey Duncan.

Shooting Statistics
SPARKS: 58/72 @ 81%
G Westwood: 28/35 @80%
M Eaton: 30/37 @ 81%

HAWKS: 43/56 @ 77%
S Dwyer: 26/32 @ 81%
L Baxter: 11/14 @ 79%
D Koli: 6/10 @ 60%

Major Semi Final | Panthers 48 d UTS St George Sparks 41
Minor Semi Final | ERNA Hawks 48 d GWS Fury 47
Preliminary Final | UTS St George Sparks 58 d ERNA Hawks 44
Grand Final | Panthers v UTS St George Sparks, 7.30pm TUE 19 SEP

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