by Jordan Witte
A strong first quarter provided a false dawn for the Metro Jets Division 5 squad, as Westside ran rampant after the first break to condemn the Jets to a 14-33 loss.
Despite a rough opening few minutes, where both teams struggled to gain the ascendency due to sloppy play and turnovers, the Jets were able to stay with a Westside team brimming with experience and talent.
Chelsea Hofman’s first quarter in goal attack was electric, with the goaler scoring three of Metro’s four goals as the Jets trailed Westside by just one goal at the first break. Ably assisted by centre and co-captain Emily Aitken, Hofman made it look easy from range, as Jordan Austin added a further goal.
The Georgia Rajic-Hannah Dale combination continued to bear fruit, as the undersized defenders battled away against their taller opponents. Playing in front to negate easy ball, Rajic had to go back with the flight on several occasions, taking intercepts backing back into difficult positions with courage.
Down just one at the break to fourth-placed Westside, the Jets went back out with renewed positivity. Asha Roche, sporting the throwback look of knee-high socks, scored two goals either side of a Westside finish, to tie the game at six goals apiece early in the second quarter.
And then… Metro stopped.
An astounding 20 of the next 23 goals went Westside’s way, as the red and blue found another gear and another one after that to completely shut the Jets out of the game.
Nothing worked. Westside cranked the pressure up on Metro’s midcourt, forcing questionable decisions and turnovers, as the Jets were forced to go sideways instead of forwards. Metro drives finished on or near the sidelines on multiple occasions, hemming the Jets into corners of the court they’d never make it out of.
Rajic and Dale were under constant pressure, as Tessa Schurmann and Aitken had to drop back to assist Holly Rothnie in wing defense. A clogged defensive third didn’t seem to bother Westside, who coolly picked their way through the congestion to feed their goal shooter time and time again.
The Jets all being in one part of the court meant any time they had an opportunity to rebound from defense, Rothnie, Dale or Rajic had to wait for their midcourters to get into dangerous positions, allowing Westside to set up a zone and easily win the ball back.
Austin, Roche and Hofman were relegated to mere spectators as the ball spent huge chunks of time in Westside possession. At 9-26 early in the last quarter, the Jets managed to put together some decent patches of play resulting in goals for Austin and Rothnie, but the damage was well and truly done.
With the final score of 14-33 reflecting the ruthlessness of the Westside outfit, the Jets will seek to make amends this coming week against the Northern Panthers.