By Jordan Witte and Claire Macuz
The return of Ally Brown and Arabella Williams to Division 4 could not stop the Metro Revellers crashing to a 27-19 defeat at the hands of Doncaster on Tuesday night.
Brown and Williams, who were handed Division 2 debuts last week, fitted seamlessly back into coach Megghan Ryan’s side, but in a scrappy affair, could not capitalize on multiple opportunities to put Doncaster away.
A first half, in which shooters Heidi Macuz and Casey Kamphaug could only muster six goals between them, proved to be the difference, as both teams managed 13 goals apiece in the second half.
Warning signs were obvious early in the game, as both teams traded turnovers before a goal was scored. Doncaster settled the better of the two, jumping out to a four-goal lead before Macuz got the Revellers on the board thanks to slick passing from Brown.
Much of the first quarter was resigned to watching the umpires blow their whistle, as the teams went an astonishing seven minutes without scoring. Metro had eight opportunities to score, but could not make an impact on the scoreboard, while Doncaster wasted six chances to extend their three-goal lead.
Williams was introduced at quarter time, slotting into the wing attack slot, and immediately had an impact, assisting on Macuz’s third goal of the game.
Coach Ryan’s rev-up at the break, imploring her side to slow play down, seemed to find its mark, with the Metro midcourt cranking up the pressure and forcing three turnovers in the early stages of the second quarter. Gabby Bassi and Alyce Kruse feasted on loose passing as the Revellers crept to within two goals.
However, Doncaster’s attackers proved irrepressible. Their goal attack added six goals for the quarter, capitalizing on Metro’s game-high seven turnovers. Metro’s attempt to increase the speed of their play allowed Doncaster to build an eight-goal lead, with the last six goals of the period.
As a spectacle, the game needed a spark. It received that spark in the form of the younger Macuz, English import Beccy Lewis and goal attack Williams, as the latter two combined for seven assists and Macuz scored on seven of her 10 shot attempts.
Wing defense Rebecca Francis, team captain and wing attack Claire Macuz and the returning Jess de Neef marshaled the troops. De Neef went after every rebound offered to her, Macuz controlled the midcourt’s pace and Francis provided her trademark energy, racking up one of her game-high five intercepts during a crucial Doncaster foray forward.
An uncharacteristically quiet period from Doncaster’s goalers meant the Revellers were chasing a four-goal deficit entering the final quarter.
That quickly became six as Doncaster’s goal attack nailed the first two goals of the last quarter, before the trio of Macuz, Williams & Lewis combined for three goals in a row to reduce the margin to just three.
Doncaster needed a lift, and it came, as expected, from their goal attack. She finished with 7/8 shooting in the final quarter, connecting on her last seven shots, including crucial finishes in the middle part of the quarter to protect the Doncaster lead.
Not even four assists from Williams, including an extraordinary pass from near midcourt, could reverse the momentum, as Doncaster’s goalers took it in turns to land the killer blows.
The last five goals of the game belonged to the team in royal blue, as they ran away with an eight-goal win.
The loss pushes Metro to a tie for 8th, four wins ahead of 9th place. Doncaster cements its position in the top 4, going a game clear of Moonee Valley in 5th.
Heidi Macuz: 15/22 (68%)
Casey Kamphaug: 2/3 (66%)
Arabella Williams: 2/5 (40%), 8 assists
Beccy Lewis: 5 assists, 1 interception
Gabbi Bassi: 3 interceptions, 2 rebounds, 1 deflection
Alyce Kruse: 3 interceptions, 2 rebounds, 1 deflection
Votes: B. Lewis 3 H. Macuz 2 A. Williams 1