by Jordan Witte, Claire Macuz & Salv Lupone
A devastating last quarter burst was enough for the U15-2 Metro Jets to get over the line against Craigieburn, in a win that further strengthens their premiership credentials.
With the game all tied up at 13 goals apiece with a quarter to go, a stunning defensive turnaround from Katia Dossis, Charlotte Caldow and Alicia Lupone was the catalyst for an 8-2 final stanza which sent the Jets clear.
Liliana Morgan’s six goals in the last period were vital, as was Amelia Fortunaso-McKay’s lockdown defense, shutting down Craigieburn’s goal shooter. Ella Parker’s constant movement created headaches for her opponents, while Hannah McManus’s quiet determination and vision provided her goalers with opportunities galore.
The 21-15 victory keeps the Jets a game clear atop the ladder, with their next game against St. Therese’s a chance to continue to stay clear of rivals Airport Saints.
Metro’s first quarter was passable, as an even performance across the board from both teams saw goals hard to come by. Dossis’ distribution from goal defense was a highlight, while Morgan’s constant supply of ball was negated by outstanding defensive pressure from Craigieburn’s much taller defenders.
With rebounds hard to snag, efficiency was at a premium. Craigieburn’s court-wide press threatened to starve the Jets of opportunity, but with a 4-2 lead at quarter time, the Jets remained confident.
They say the best teams are the ones who respond when presented with adversity. The Jets got a healthy dose of adversity in the second quarter, as Craigieburn turned the pressure dial way up to outscore Metro 3-6. With the Jets a touch panicked under pressure and forgetting their “short-and-sharp” style of play, Charlotte Caldow’s cool head stood out, as did Lupone’s physicality off the bench.
Trailing by a goal at the long break, it was Lupone and McManus who took charge to steady the ship for the Jets. Lupone’s defensive job on the Craigieburn centre halted her effectiveness, while McManus created plenty of chances for Morgan and Georgia Padden, who were able to take advantage of their speed against the taller Craigieburn defenders.
With nothing separating the teams at the final break, it was the Jets who triumphed against adversity, with the 8-2 final quarter a reminder to the rest of the competition what these Jets are capable of.
The coaching staff – Kim Dooley, Salv Lupone and Lee Harris – freely admitted post game to nerves. The trio crossed from Craigieburn during the off-season, and with the extra pressure that comes from playing against your old team, the win has extra significance for the three coaches.
Most importantly, however, it continues the winning streak for the Jets.