Valley’s two premier netball teams know they are in for two big games in tomorrow’s North Otago premier club netball semifinals.
“But that’s what we want; that’s what we play netball for,” Valley coach Rihi Schultz said.
Valley Karaka and Valley Koru have made it to the semifinals with No1 and No3 rankings respectively. They are playing Maheno Green and St Kevin’s College for a spot in next weekend’s final.
Karaka has not played fourth-placed St Kevin’s College since the opening round of this year’s competition, a game Valley won by only two goals. Second-placed Maheno Green’s only encounter with Koru also went down to the wire, Maheno winning 35-34.
While it would be “amazing” to have an all-Valley final, Schultz was not getting ahead of herself.
“We’re just concentrating on one game at a time, and what will be will be.
“As long as you play hard and have fun, you win at the end of the day.”
Shooter Kara Cox had been “outstanding” for Karaka this season, as had midcourter Celia van Kampen for Koru, Schultz said. “Veteran” Petra Aspros had also been a great mentor for the “new, young, fresh” Koru team.
Maheno Green was ready to have another go at the premier prize this year, after being defeated in the 2019 and 2018 finals, coach Carmen Brenssell said.
The team was peaking at the right time of the season, and Brenssell hoped it would all come together tomorrow against Valley Koru.
“We hadn’t put a 40-minute game together until last weekend [against Maheno Rebels],” she said.
“The girls played really well last weekend and looked really sharp.”
Philippa Masoe and Kate and Hayley Lawrence, new additions to the team, had impressed this season.
“We can put on any combination and it works; that’s what’s been awesome about the team this year, and everyone just gets on so well,” Brenssell said.
Players were in high spirits, but were not underestimating tomorrow’s challenge.
“In our eyes, [Koru has] been the team to beat this season,” she said.
“We’re just going to have to play our own game .. and put that ball through the hoop.”
St Kevin’s College Senior A coach Rachel Fowler said her side was also prepared for a tough game against Karaka.
“We’re very excited to be in the semis this year,” Fowler said.
Valley Karaka played a “more mature thinking” and stronger style of netball than schoolgirls – and that was something players were preparing for.
“We’re definitely talking about that and focusing on our game and developing that,” she said.
Captain Annie Metcalfe had led the St Kevin’s side “really well” this year, and had been rewarded for her performance on court with her selection for the senior North Otago team.