St Mary’s 1 have opened their NFNL winter netball season in thrilling style, clinging on to a three-goal victory over Hazel Glen 1 at RMIT University.
It was a tight encounter all game, with Hazel Glen always on the Burra’s tail, but St Mary’s did enough to record the 25-22 win, their first of the 2022 winter campaign.
St Mary’s goal shooter Biljana Cvijestic was the most dangerous in attack, finishing the night with 18 goals, while Sophie Cachia’s seven goals, including five in the second quarter, were vital.
For Hazel Glen in just their second appearance in the league’s winter competition, Nicole Psaila and Tameka Wright combined well up front in the first term, as they shared six goals between them. Wright would finish the game with nine goals while Hailie Baker was a constant threat for the Burra defenders, particularly in the second half where she scored seven of her eight goals.
The tempo was high in the first term, with the Burra’s Cvijestic a standout as she scored all seven of St Mary’s goals. The strong Psaila and Wright combination allowed Hazel Glen to always keep within reach of the Burra, who led by one goal at quarter time.
The second quarter saw less goals but more intensity in the contest. The defensive work of St Mary’s duo of Bridget Pilatti and Josie Desmond was impressive, keeping Hazel Glen to just three goals while Caicha converting five shots at the other end gave St Mary’s a handy three goal lead at the main break.
Hazel Glen were able to take control of the game after half time, with Wright and Baker this time sharing the load and combining for seven goals between them, to win the quarter and trail by just one goal heading into the final quarter.
With the game being so tight, the pace ramped up in the last term with both sides having ample opportunities on goal. While Wright and Baker did well to combine for six goals for Hazel Glen, the last term belonged to Cvijestic, who scored all eight of the Burra’s fourth quarter goals to secure victory for her side.
St Mary’s will look to continue their winning form when they take on Greensborough 2 in the third round of grading, whilst Hazel Glen 1 will still be searching for that first win when they do battle against Watsonia 1.