by Jordan Witte, Claire Macuz & Salv Lupone
It might not have been the prettiest game to watch, but it was enough to get the job done.
On a bitterly cold Thursday night at Parkville, the type of night where it’s cold enough to see your breath and you’d rather have a pair of gloves and a beanie, the Metro Jets U15-2 squad did enough to get over the line against a dogged St. Therese’s outfit, 15-4.
It was Amelia Fortunaso-McKay’s third quarter which broke the game open. Having played the first half in defense, Fortunaso-McKay was swung to an attacking position by coach Kim Dooley, partnering team captain Liliana Morgan.
Fortunaso-McKay had an immediate impact, breaking open the low-scoring, dour contest. After only scoring six goals in the first half, Fortunaso-McKay added four for the Jets in as many minutes, effectively ending the resistance shown by the Saints. Fortunaso-McKay enjoyed superb service from Hannah McManus, with the midcourter handing out three assists in three centre passes at one stage.
Morgan, too, rose to the occasion in the third quarter. The team captain showcased her trademark confidence, bringing down wayward passes with one hand when girls were struggling to hang onto the ball in difficult conditions. The goal shooter got the Jets going in the first half, and played second fiddle to Fortunaso-McKay as the squad pulled further away.
Anyone who has played any ball sport in cold enough weather will know the numbness you get in your hands, and it affected the level of play in the opening period. Neither team had cohesive movement, as the two sides contributed to an astonishing 21 turnovers combined in the first quarter.
The Jets were able to give Morgan and Mackenzie Wood, filling in at the higher level, enough opportunities for Metro to take a slim lead into the first break. Charlotte Caldow stood tall in defense, racking up her fair share of intercepts as the Saints pressed in the second quarter, and distributing smartly to her midcourters.
With key centrecourt player Alicia Lupone missing, having earned a promotion to the U15-1s, and Georgia Padden on an overseas holiday, Wood and Lyra Veniegas were given opportunities at the higher level.
Wood, an attacking player, and Veniegas, a versatile utility, showed enough to suggest they will be players to watch in future. Wood wasn’t deterred by larger defenders, with the undersized goal attack putting herself in scoring positions early and often, and combining well with Morgan in the first half.
Veniegas impressed watching senior coaches, as the zippy allrounder caused absolute havoc, deflecting passes and snagging interceptions in an agile performance reminiscent of senior centre-courter Georgia Tymms at her best.
The usual suspects had excellent nights, as Ms. Fix-It Katia Dossis continued her improvement by seemingly being everywhere at once. Dossis’ defensive shadowing effectively removed her player from the play, while Veniegas employed the same tactic to put increasing pressure on the St. Therese’s midcourt. Ella Parker and McManus’ fitness reigned supreme, as the midcourters ran their Saints opponents into the ground over four quarters.
The eleven-goal win extends the Jets’ buffer at the top of the ladder, and continues their undefeated start to the season. In addition, the win without Lupone and Padden will add to the team’s confidence, and finally, showcased the junior talent waiting in the wings.