FIRST-year championship division goaler Laura McDonald is improving each week with her shooting under fire.
The close physical check in the circle is intense and Ballarat Pride head coach Jo Dash said the young gun was standing up to the relentless pressure well.
She will be put to the test with her Ballarat Pride teammates on Wednesday night in a four-day turnaround between matches in the Victorian Netball League.
Federation University Pride can take some confidence in knowing rival VU Western Lightning’s preparations have been one day shorter coming off the home game rounds.
Play is back at the State Netball Hockey Centre in Melbourne.
Fitness and recovery will be imperative.
Pride treks back to Melbourne after impressing against Peninsula Waves, despite a 24-goal loss, at the Wendouree Sports and Events Centre on Saturday night.
Direct and entertaining play helped Pride to match the Waves in the first and third quarters – a second-quarter lapse and basic errors in the fourth proved Pride’s downfall.
Dash said her players must repeat their best form and, most importantly, sustain it to be competitive with Lightning.
“We have the depth and fitness to match VU but constant, repeated effort is required, “ Dash said.
“Sustained full-court defensive pressure, front position demanding the ball and accuracy must all occur consistently to take control of this match.
“...The frustration comes from inconsistency and basic errors under pressure that are swiftly punished by opponents.”
Midcourters Cass Peace and Johanna Dash set the tone in Pride’s defensive pressure at ground level.
In the circle defence, Emma Ryan’s ability to get to high balls and Emma Farrant’s interceptions are promising.
Dash said the pair were working to make goalers more accountable than just relying on earning turnovers.
VICTORIAN NETBALL LEAGUE
Ballarat Pride v VU Western Lightning
at State Netball Hockey Centre on Wednesday night
Championship division, 7pm
Division one, 8.20pm