Winning in FAST5 isn’t all about sinking supershots.
It is also about shutting down your opposition in the powerplay – which is exactly what the Australian FAST5 Flyers did to South Africa in their 30-8 victory this afternoon at Vector Arena in Auckland, New Zealand.
The Flyers gave a demonstration of the perfect way to defend a powerplay, denying the South Africans a single point in its double-scoring spell, the third quarter of the low-scoring match.
Flyers coach Jane Searle confirmed it was her side’s intention to keep the South Africans scoreless in their most vital period.
“It was a great defensive effort. We tried to do a few things differently out there in their powerplay – like playing (midcourter) Ash Brazill at goal attack,” Searle said.
“She turned over the first two balls and we just carried on from there. We knew they had two good shooters from the two and three point lines, and our strategy was to shut them down.”
Searle was happy to have two wins on the board from as many matches and promised much more from her side.
“We still have to hit our straps; we still have improvements to make especially in attack,” Searle said.
Nothing separated the two sides in the first six minutes. The Flyers had a 6-5 edge going into the second quarter – all points scored by Kate Beveridge – and started to find their footing from that point on.
Co-captain Erin Bell made great space for herself in the shooting circle and goal defence Jo Weston was drilling the ball down court into safe hands. A 15-7 lead had the Flyers feeling a little more comfortable at half-time.
In an incredible display of pressure defence, the third quarter was almost devoid of goals. The Australians added just five points, while South Africa were denied adding any in their powerplay.
South African defender Vanes-Mari Du Toit said her team was struggling to connect in the early stages of the tournament.
“We need to find each other out on court. We’re missing the link,” she said. “If every player in our team plays to their full potential, the score would reflect what we are really capable of. At the moment, we’re making the other team look better.”
The Flyers’ final match of the tournament’s opening day is against hosts the New Zealand FAST5 Ferns at 5.35pm (AEDT).
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