by Jordan Witte, Claire Macuz & Salv Lupone
Missing several key players, the Metro Jets U15-1 squad stepped up to the plate and pulled a remarkable win from nowhere, exacting revenge for their loss to the Sunbury Sonics earlier in the season.
With Scarlett Padden (overseas), Holly Rothnie (unavailable) and Reese Willder (overseas) all missing from the team list, Tristan Comans and Alicia Lupone were drafted into the side, filling key positions against the top side on the ladder.
After the first meeting between these teams all the way back in Round 2 this season, where Sunbury prevailed 29-20, the Jets had circled this match-up on their calendars, eager to return the favour.
The ladder in this competition is crowded at the top, with Metro, Westside and DC Force now sitting at 7-2, with Sunbury a game further back at 6-3. Wins against the top 4 are like gold, and the opportunity wasn’t lost on the Jets as they started brightly.
Aimee Harris and Paige Comans scored the first three goals of the game, extending the Metro lead to the eventual winning margin. Bela Hartman’s unbelievable versatility continues to develop, as the utility started the game in C. Tristan Comans and Nat Williams worked well together in their first pairing as a defensive unit, keeping the Sonics to just three goals for the quarter.
With a slim lead at the first break, the Jets broke even in the second quarter. Both teams scored five goals, as Hartman and Williams returned to their familiar defensive structures. Sunbury’s physical style of play is one that has served them well throughout the season, and they utilised it here, staying within striking distance of the Jets.
Lupone used her height to her advantage. Getting her first taste of Division 2, a jump of four divisions, the midcourter didn’t look out of her depth, as Sunbury struggled to cope with her agility and speed.
Sunbury’s third quarter showed why they’re rated as such a good team, as they outscored the Jets seven goals to five. Attempting to stay top of the ladder, the Sonics dragged the Metro lead down to one goal, as Harris played a lone hand, scoring all five goals for the Jets.
Tristan Comans’ education continued, as Hartman and Williams took the 13-year-old to school. Maddy Usher’s sensational effort in WD held Sunbury’s WA to limited effectiveness, as the pressure through the midcourt from the Jets contributed to Sunbury’s 20 turnovers for the game.
With it all to play for in the last quarter, the Jets flipped the script on the Sonics, outscoring Sunbury seven goals to five. Harris’ six goals were the difference, as Paige Comans played a supporting role in GS. Bec Stingel’s hard running, even through exhaustion, blew the Sonics out of the water,
Williams solidified her best-on-court status with a scintillating last quarter, all done through the pain of lingering foot injuries. Her defensive partners Hartman, Usher and Comans were all instrumental in the Metro win, with the Jets taking top spot on the ladder ever so briefly with a 23-20 victory.
Westside, playing later in the night, would pass the Jets on percentage. The tightness at the top of the ladder has ensured the race to the finals will be extremely fun to watch in the later rounds.