Sport

Lions give early scare but Saints hold on

by
June 17, 2017

Courtney Aldous looks for an opportunity to pass.

Mariah Baumann takes a shot on goal.

Marlee Koopman passes the ball out of defence.

A spirited performance from Seymour gave Benalla a scare at Kings Park.

Confident and loud out on the court, Benalla came out in the first quarter looking to take control of the game early.

The fast-firing Saints got away to an early lead, shooting 13 goals to the Lions’ five in the first quarter.

Refusing to hang their heads, the Lions came out with a point to prove in the second quarter.

The Lions pressed Benalla all across the court, forcing them out wide and making them work for each and every possession.

Meg Grbac was superb in defence for the Lions, quick to the ball on rebounds and creating several turnovers for the team.

She was backed up by Georgia Engel and the pair held the Saints to just seven goals as the Lions worked away at Benalla’s early lead.

A clever mid-air flick from Laura Carland sent the ball direct to Rebecca Beaton who goaled seven times in the second quarter.

The Lions would feel unlucky not to have scored again after a late decision to call advantage cost Seymour possession of the ball.

A quick-thinking Alana Mascitti lobbed the ball to Beaton after the umpire called a contact.

Beaton heard the whistle and passed the ball back to Mascitti, but the umpire called advantage after the ball was in mid-air.

The Lions lost possession and the Saints produced a goal.

Having cut the lead down to just five goals, the Lions went into the half-time break feeling positive having won the quarter.

Emily Haysom was an important defensive anchor in the middle of the court.

She created several turnovers and was vital in transferring the ball into attack and holding the Saints accountable.

Benalla responded in the third quarter, shooting 12 goals to the Lions’ five.

The lead blew out as the Lions struggled to keep up with the pace-setting Benalla.

At three-quarter-time, Carland encouraged the team to prove a point.

Disappointed with their third-quarter result, the Lions took the game to Benalla in the final quarter.

Mascitti, who’d played alongside Haysom in wing defence, rotated into a more attacking centre role to feed the ball to the Seymour goalers.

Carland shot four goals in goal attack while playing a key supportive role in feeding the ball to goaling partner Ellie O’Sullivan.

O’Sullivan shot truly, converting six times in the last quarter to close the gap on Benalla.

She was a standout performer as she worked the Benalla defence and converted the vast majority of her chances.

Carland was pleased with her team’s performance.

‘‘We’re encouraging each other more out on the court and it’s making a huge difference,’’ she said.

‘‘We’ve been working constantly on our defensive pressure over the last few weeks and I thought that was great throughout the whole game.

‘‘We won lots of turnovers and I thought it was great to see the things we’re training on coming into practice.

‘‘We’ve just dropped our heads a bit in the third quarter and it has let teams get that edge over us.

‘‘We just need to focus on getting a full four-quarter performance.’’

Score: Seymour 30 lt Benalla 39.

Best: Ellie O’Sullivan, Meg Grbac.

B-grade

Seymour was doing it tough and without key players against Benalla.

An elbow to the head saw in-form Lions midcourter Mia Feery leave the court in the first quarter.

Feery was taken to hospital in an ambulance and the Lions had to make do without her.

Paige Hockley took the bib before returning to a wing defence role for the remaining three quarters.

Mariah Baumann was positioning herself well and finding the net repeatedly alongside Georgia Velt.

The Lions shot well in all four quarters but, with a player down, struggled to hold down their defences.

Marlee Koopman was the Lions’ anchor at the back but was working overtime to shut down Benalla’s two shooters.

A tight second quarter gave the Lions some hope but Benalla was ultimately too good for Seymour, winning by 24 points.

Score: Seymour 36 lt Benalla 60.

B-reserve

The B-reserve side looked in trouble early against Benalla.

The Saints goaled 15 times in the first quarter while Seymour managed to net the ball just twice.

The second quarter looked better for the Lions as they managed to goal six times while conceding only nine.

The Lions produced their best effort in the third quarter, equalling Benalla’s tally of seven, but they were unable to take control or win the quarter.

Benalla was the dominant side, shooting 11 goals to six in the last quarter to set up the 21-goal win.

Score: Seymour 21 lt Benalla 42.

Under-17

The young Lions couldn’t keep up with the pace of Benalla, who shot 19 first-quarter goals to take control of the game early on.

A better performance in the second saw Seymour restrict the Saints to just 14 goals while they desperately clawed back nine.

But there was no stopping Benalla, who looked a cut above the Lions.

The Saints shot 18 to six in the third quarter as they looked to add to their goal percentage.

The Lions shot seven goals to the Saints’ 11 in the final quarter but couldn’t really gain control of the match.

Score: Seymour 28 lt Benalla 62.

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