By Jordan Witte and Claire Macuz
Despite forcing 10 turnovers in the first quarter alone, the U17-1 Metro Jets side was unable to capitalise against ladder leaders Westside on Tuesday night, losing 18-33.
Missing star defender Bela Hartman (illness), the Jets were arguably the better side for the entire first half, as they pressured Westside into mistakes, grabbing rebounds and making smart choices with direct movement down the court.
Unfortunately for the Jets, they weren’t able to make their shots count, trailing at every change as Westside showed their class after quarter-time.
Post-game, coaches Jordan Witte and Kim Dooley lamented their side’s inability to make their opportunities count.
“We forced so many turnovers in the first quarter. It honestly looked like they were trying to give us the game. We rebounded strongly, we moved the ball well, we pressured their passes,” Witte said.
“We just couldn’t get the shots to drop.”
Alix Colafella and Zoe Usher played starring roles in the defensive circle, with their ability to out-rebound Westside’s goalers providing the Jets with plenty of opportunities throughout the game.
Nat Williams played four quarters as she continues to recover from injuries to both feet, and was instrumental in stifling Westside’s extremely creative wing attack.
Lucy Beath and Darja Bilyanska held down the centre and wing attack positions, with Beath utilising her physicality to put body pressure on Westside’s midcourt. Bilyanska led from the front, as her passing continues to be a highlight of the team’s play each week.
Finally, Latesha Hardaway and Chanel Romeo endured a frustrating night, as multiple opportunities went begging. Some were missed shots; some were questionable umpiring decisions, while others again were simple mistakes or turnovers from the midcourt.
Whatever the reason, Westside fought back into the game after their lethargic start. They sit atop the ladder for a reason, and their passing – especially from set plays – scythed through the Jets defense several times.
They steadily built a lead throughout the game, as the Jets scored in dribs and drabs. Every good piece of work by the Jets – whether it be an intercept forced through the “Five” zone, or a methodical build up for a goal – was cancelled out by a barrage from the ladder leaders.
Despite the eventual loss, Witte had positive words for his team after the game.
“When we sit down and look at the game, there’s more positives than negatives for you guys to take away. We pressured the number one team in the competition into ten turnovers in a quarter alone,” he said.
“If we bring that sort of effort, and go the extra 5% that we know we need to, we will be in games against every single team in this competition.”
The Jets will get the opportunity to make amends this coming Tuesday, when they meet DC Force.