UB Ballarat Pride captain Johnanna Dash says a one-goal win helps her team feel worthy to take the court.
Pride has a history of competitiveness before nerves set in – but not this time.
Players remained calm and focused to claim a 45-44 goal win against Geelong Cougars in Victorian Netball League championship division on Wednesday night.
The victory is Pride’s fifth win in five VNL seasons.
Pride broke a 45-game losing streak in VNL’s championship division in their final round last season.
Pride captain Johanna Dash said the win felt great and offered her team a renewed, early confidence to attack the season.
“The win helps make us feel worthy as players. It’s hard going through the whole season without winning,” Dash said.
“Being early in the season, the win gives us a bit more confidence – others might be a little more wary of us.”
Dash said her team has worked hard to not feel pressured when they step out on court each week.
Players were more settled and this week, it paid dividends.
This week, players concentrated on patience and working the ball about confidently.
A slow start had Pride 8-1 goals down midway through the first quarter. By quarter-time, the Cougars lef 13-7.
“I can’t remember the exact turnaround point but I know we were determined we were not going to let this game slip,” Dash said.
“We were a couple of goals down for a good amount of time then figured it all out, took the lead and was able to maintain it.”
Dash praised the persistent, tight defence of Emma Ryan and Emma Wright on young Melbourne Vixens-listed goaler Erin Hoare.
Championship division debutante Gina McCartin added bite through the centre court, her drive feeding Pride’s shooters well.
Meanwhile, Pride 19/unders struggled to catch a dominant Geelong Cougars outfit, 57-33.
The Cougars started strong in a 15-10 first quarter and built on their lead each term.
Pride captain Mikayla George said it was hard facing such a tough Geelong on a four-day turnaround.
“They were very physical, rough and had their hands on the ball, dominating, the whole time,” George said.
“They had no weak spot across the whole court.”
George said her team would put in a couple of solid training runs, which would help her team reset.
Pride has next Wednesday night off and will return to court on March 20, leading into a home game at the Wendouree Sports and Events Centre on March 24.