A FINAL-quarter fade-out against the reigning champion has cost the Ballarat Pride after a promising start in their Victorian Netball League championship division match last night.
UB Pride challenged the powerful Monash University Central combination for three quarters and managed to stay within 13 goals of the third-placed team before being defeated 71-41 at Knox Netball Centre.
While there were promising signs from the performance, Ballarat team manager Kaylene Trigg said the 23-6 scoreline in favour of Central in the final term was not good enough.
“Basically we ran out of legs in the last quarter,” she said.
“The girls are disappointed they couldn’t maintain the intensity in the second half. Match fitness is something we need to continue to work on. Competing for two-and-a-half quarters is not really good enough.”
After a tussle with Ballarat’s Kara Hart in the first half, Vixens goaler Karen Bailey cut loose for Monash University Centrals in the second half. Trigg said the height and strength of Central, and Bailey in particular, made the metropolitan side a difficult unit to counter.
“Our circle defenders did a great job of containing their goalers in the first half but it was really a test to be able to contain their skilled and very tall goalers for a whole match,” Trigg said.
“Kara Hart did a great job of containing Karen Bailey in the first half but (Bailey) is a very strong player. Johanna Dash played wing defence in the first half and had a number of intercepts. She played in the centre in the second half and gave us a lot of drive. Jordan Bibby shot really well and was a target for us in the circle.”
Pride now has a 17-day break before a home game on April 28 at Wendouree Sports and Events Centre against North East Blaze, which sits mid-table in the championship division.
• Pride’s 19-and-under team has continued its impressive start to the season with a 48-39 victory against third-placed Monash Central. Pride started strongly, opening up a 16-9 lead by quarter-time, and then narrowly won the second quarter 12-11, to set up a eight goal lead by half-time.
Monash responded in the third quarter after making some position changes to cut the margin to just two goals by the final change before Ballarat steadied with a 15-8 final quarter.
The victory strengthen’s Ballarat’s hold on second position on the VNL 19/under ladder.
“Our goalers Laura McDonald (goal shooter) and Brylee Schache (goal attack) shot very well,” coach Kerry Lightfoot said.
“It was a good win given we were playing for second position and we were missing our vice captain Sally Portbury and Elle McDonald, who has been our goal defence for much of the season.”