The weekly improvement has continued for the Metro Jets U-17 sides, despite both teams suffering losses on Tuesday night.
With the U17-1s enjoying a week off due to a bye, the focus turned first to the U17-2s.
The side was strengthened by Aimee Harris’ return from the top 17s side, while Anushka Sadler was rewarded for her performance in the 17-3s in previous weeks with a promotion to starting goal attack.
Combined with strong midcourt play and defensive pressure, the Jets started brightly, leading DC Force midway through the quarter before committing crucial turnovers late to trail 4-5 at the first break.
Louisa Bongrain, reverting to defense after spending time in attack in previous seasons, locked down the goal circle, using her height to her advantage. The goalkeeper pulled down three rebounds, with her long arms causing havoc for DC’s goalers.
Unfortunately, the team’s strong play in the first quarter couldn’t be replicated across the ensuing three quarters. The Jets would score just 5 more goals for the rest of the game, as DC settled into the game and controlled the flow of play.
The final score was a disappointing, if not heartening, 10-34.
The post match focus from coaches Jordan Witte & Kim Dooley centred on the improvement the team has made since coming together at the end of pre-season.
“You guys are still getting used to each other,” Witte said. “There’s so much improvement to come, especially from our goalers and our midcourters.”
“We’ve just got to be tighter for longer. Our defensive pressure can’t drop. At this level, you just need to be right there with your player for as long as possible.”
Dooley reaffirmed the positive effort showed by the team in the first quarter, calling it “encouraging”.
“To hold them to 5 goals in a quarter is great. Now we just need to work on doing it across four quarters,” she said.
It was a much closer affair in the U17-3s, with U17-level debuts handed to Georgia Padden and Maddy Usher, both younger sisters of older Metro players Scarlett and Zoe respectively.
With first-year U17 Sara Abate leading the way with exceptional defensive pressure and spring, the team pushed a strong Essendon Thunder squad all the way, before fading late to fall to a 24-14 loss.
Holly Pugliese continued her development as a goaler in the higher age group. The shooter was thrust into a leadership role as the senior attacker, marshaling youngster Padden around the goal circle and using her body with great effect.
Isabel Leraci, Pauline Genreau and Ella Buck had promising displays, but it was the junior Usher who shone brightest, mimicking her older sister’s tenacity and defensive instincts in the wing defence position.
Forming a scary twosome with Abate, Usher controlled her opponent’s influence on the game, showing that her first game at a higher level will absolutely not be her last.
Despite the result, there was plenty to like from the most junior Jets. Coaches Jordan Witte & Kim Dooley highlighted the encouraging games from the Jets, with the focus on training set to revolve around reducing the team’s turnovers through the midcourt and slowing down the pace of the game.
With teams likely to be set for the remainder of the season this week, the junior squads will get the opportunity to gel and build chemistry.
Metro Jets U17-1 vs Northern Panthers 3 (6:30pm)
Metro Jets U17-2 vs Avondale Heights NC (7:15pm)
Metro Jets U17-3 vs Airport Saints 3 (8:00pm)