MATCH REPORT | Saracens Mavericks U19 38 - 44 Loughborough Lightning U19
Written by Josie Groves | Photography by Annette Allanson
Saturday 5th March saw a slightly different Saracens Mavericks U19 squad head up to face Loughborough Lightning U19s after losing both our shooting sensation Tianna and defence dynamo Alyssa to illnesses through the week. This was in addition to previously losing Roses academy defender Eden and another shooting star Melita to injury. However, the great thing about our squad is the incredible depth we have throughout, and it was Makeda and Caitlin who got the call ups to make their first appearances in the match day squad, and what a stage for it.
There was much excitement in the Mavericks camp, the stands were out, the music was blasting, and we were able to run through the tunnel onto the court to get the game going - and what a game!
Starting 7 (GS-GK): Maddy, Daisy, Justine, Zoe, Josie, Jo, Tori. We had the first centre pass after winning the toss (for the 5th time in a row) and we started right, taking the first centre pass to goal to make it 0-1. Unfortunately, 5 mins in we had a slight scare with Zoe leaving the court after a knock to the knee allowing Onyinye to come on at WD and Josie moving to centre. We went goal for goal in a close first quarter, but it was Lightning who lead the way 11-9 at the break.
Going into the second quarter our line up returned to the original 7 with Zoe returning to court. Throughout this quarter, we began to find our rhythm, Tori leading from the back creating so many turnovers, and the new shooting combination of Maddy and Daisy going from strength to strength, battling hard in the attacking circle, allowing us to sneak the lead in the final few minutes of the half making it 21-22.
Half time team talks began with wise words from Tricia and Lisa, and we were ready for the second half. Again, no changes were made for quarter 3 allowing us to get in the groove with many turnovers from our defence duo Jo and Tori being converted, helped by the clinical attack from Zoe, Justine, Daisy and Maddy. Changes made by both teams 10 mins in saw Onyinye return to court in WD and Josie taking the centre bib. We adapted quickly and kept pushing forward to extend the score line. End of quarter 3: Mavs lead 28-34.
Final push in Q4 with the line-up; Maddy, Daisy, Justine, Josie, Onyinye, Jo, Tori. We knew the final quarter wasn’t going to be easy as we knew Lightning would continue to fight. It got very tense at times in the final quarter as Lighting got a bit of a run going closing the gap to within 1. However, another change saw Onyinye drop to GD, Josie to WD and Zoe back on at centre which allowed us to settle, taking more care of the ball and converting our turn overs. The immense support from the crowd and bench (Monika, Caitlin, Makeda, Phoebe, and Jo) helped our tired legs to keep pushing to the final whistle seeing us take the win 38-44.
What a game. Thank you to everyone who made it possible, our coaches - Tricia, Lisa, Katy and Tina team manager, Annette for taking photos, our family for supporting us and to our whole squad who continually work hard and support each other.