Sovereigns’ division one side pulls off an upset

Sovereigns’ division one side bounced back from a disappointing loss last week to pull off a thrilling seven-goal victory over the second-placed North East Blaze.

The 58-65 upset further cements the Sovereigns inside the Victorian Netball League division one top four and ensures a spot in the finals.

ACU Sovereigns. Picture: Brendan McCarthy

ACU Sovereigns. Picture: Brendan McCarthy

If the Sovereigns pull off another victory next week and top team Geelong Cougars defeat the Hawks, there is even the chance to finish the regular season in third. 

Division one coach Kim Bailey described Wednesday night’s effort at the State Netball and Hockey Centre as “really pleasing”.

“We have never beaten North East Blaze… so we’re pretty happy about our performance,” she said.

“We went off the ball a little bit in the second quarter, but then we won every other quarter apart from that.

“We had the game plan, we stuck to it and we’ve modelled our game on defence, never giving up and just building the pressure constantly and we did that.”

As the Sovereigns prepare for a finals campaign, the focus will be on consistency across four quarters and working on combinations. 

While the Sovereigns do not have any major injuries so far, the division one side loses captain Jessica Leader, who is headed overseas.

But Bailey said this would give other players more opportunities such as Annie Buntine, who will have more of a run in the middle.

In the game against Blaze, Rebecca Scott was exceptional as goal shooter in what the coach described as her best performance of the season. She shot in the 90 per cent range. Freya Langston in wing attack was also strong.

“There wasn’t really any weaknesses, the majority of them were spot on and to play a team like Blaze you have to be, you can’t have any passengers,” Bailey said.

But the championship side could not hold off a North East Blaze outfit fighting for a position in the top four, going down 80-46.

The Sovereigns did manage to win the fourth quarter but the damage was done.

The sixth-placed 19/under side was also unsuccessful, losing 67-35 to a top two North East Blaze.