By Jordan Witte and Claire Macuz
A staggering second half shooting display from 16-year-old Heidi Macuz was the catalyst for a Metro Revellers A1 victory on Monday night.
In front of a raucous crowd of international visitors, the younger Macuz shook off a rough first half to propel the Revellers to a 34-21 win over Moonlighting, keeping the squad in touch with the top 4 and a potential finals berth.
“I thought all down the court, specifically in their defensive third, our pressure was really great,” Macuz said.
“We forced them to make five or six passes outside their goal circle before their shooters could get into good positions. I think a lot of credit has to go to our mid-courters and our defenders.”
After shooting at 38% in the first half, Macuz missed just four shots in the second half, finishing the match with 16 goals from 28 attempts.
“I thought that when I started shooting well, it reflected how well the team was going. I got my confidence when the team was confident,” Macuz said.
The young goaler will take a welcome boost of confidence from her mature performance, as club tryouts for next season are just days away.
It could be argued that the Revellers may not have even needed Macuz’s phenomenal second half performance, had they shot straighter in the first half. English imports Beccy Lewis and Martha Peck continually fed both Macuz and Gabby Bassi in the first quarter, with Lewis racking up 5 assists and two interceptions, but the goalers could only manage 9 goals from 17 attempts.
Lewis credited a solid training session on Friday with helping the team’s tactics fall into place.
“We had the opportunity to discuss game styles in our practice,” the English star said.
“I felt our goalers read the game well in terms of positioning.
“The speed across the court was something I didn’t feel as though the opposition could get into the right position to defend.”
Moonlighting were dealt a cruel blow at the start of the second quarter, with wing attack Belinda Nixon suffering a calf injury while chasing a loose ball.
“I just felt it go. A little pop. I’ll be alright,” Nixon said.
With no substitutes remaining for the bottom-placed team, Metro took advantage. Claire Macuz came off the bench for the Revellers and had an immediate effect in centre, totaling two assists for the quarter.
Bassi (6/7) picked up the slack as her partner Macuz struggled (1/5), but accurate shooting from the Moonlighting goalers (6/9) kept them in touch at the long break.
Peck (3 assists, 2 interceptions & a deflection) was given the third quarter off, with Emily Archer handed the wing attack role. The hard running mid courter combined with the elder Macuz to dish out 5 assists for the quarter, with aggressive movement through the centre of the court too much for the opposition to handle.
“I feel like I’m getting better with my fitness every game,” Archer said.
Despite excellent midcourt play, the quarter belonged to the younger Macuz. She shot 6 goals from 7 attempts, some from almost the edge of the circle, in a white-hot performance.
Conversely, defenders Cass McEwen and Sarah Flanagan made life misery for the Moonlighting shooters, both recording interceptions and forcing multiple misses.
With an 11-goal lead at the final break, all that remained were the finishing touches, which the Revellers were only too happy to apply.
5 assists from Peck, 3 from the elder Macuz and 8 goals from the shooters put the result beyond doubt, as the margin ballooned out to 15 goals late in the match.
With a much-needed win, the Revellers stay in touch with the top 4. With their remaining 4 games against teams above them on the ladder, a special effort will be required for the team to make the finals.
H. Macuz: 16/28 (57%), 2 rebounds, 2 interceptions, 2 assists
G. Bassi: 18/25 (72%), 2 rebounds
M. Peck: 8 assists
C. Macuz: 7 assists
B. Lewis: 5 assists, 4 interceptions
C. McEwen: 2 deflections, 1 interception
Votes: H. Macuz 3, M. Peck 2, G. Bassi 1
Lineup: S. Flanagan, C. McEwen, E. Archer, H. Macuz, C. Macuz, G. Bassi, M. Peck, B. Lewis