Rats sink the Strikers

August 02, 2017

ECHUCA MOAMA Hockey Club’s A women have bounced back from the previous loss to SYC to sink the Strikers 3-1.

The River Rats hosted the Goulburn Valley Hockey Association round six clash at Echuca College and delivered an impressive team performance to reignite their season.

With four key players out Echuca Moama went in undermanned against a full-strength Strikers side but that didn’t stop it from putting the first couple of goals on the board to go into half time with a 2-0 lead.

The Strikers hit back in the second half with a goal of their own before another field goal to the Rats sealed the victory.

Field goals to Tegan Stuchbery, Monique Schwedes and Belinda Preen ensured the team ran out the match as comfortable winners and coach Coral Gulson said their positioning was the strongest all season.

‘‘The girls were determined to make sure they got the win this week,’’ Gulson said.

‘‘Everyone played an amazing, solid game and kept fighting.

‘‘Good field positioning, short passes and team work meant they converted. They had the confidence in each other to give the ball off quickly and made sure there was someone to pass to.’’

Wendy McLeod played on a former Echuca-Moama woman and was determined not to let her score, as a result producing one of her best defensive games of the season.

Kari Gulson was a welcome return to the side and her defensive pressure repelled many of the Strikers attacks forward, limiting their opportunities to score.

‘‘It was probably one of the best games I’ve seen her play,’’ the coach said.

‘‘She was still carrying a bit of concussion from a hit to the face a few weeks back, but she went out there to prove a point and played hard hockey.’’

Courtney Thompson was moved into centre half to cover Gulson’s usual position and the 14-year-old stepped up to have a hand in every passage of play.

Thompson and Gulson were named in the bests for the day and Kate McMaster played out the game with a split knee which needed stitches.

An under 15 player stepped up for her first A grade game and Abbey Mathers rushed in late to bring on some fresh legs in the forward line.

‘‘It didn’t matter that we didn’t have a full-strength side,’’ Gulson said.

‘‘All the girls came out firing and it’s encouraging to know we can still get the results we want.

‘‘We have the bye this week which will be good for both the A women and A men to rest up.’’

A men went down in a close one goal encounter with the Strikers at home.

They had to play out the match without Adam Thompson who went down in the first half and injured his shoulder.

Jayden Gulson was out on the pitch playing one handed to build up some fitness while several B grade and junior players had stepped up to fill the side.

All the men took it up to the Strikers in the second half after trailing 1-3 at the break.

They levelled the scores at 3-3 and the game could’ve gone either way, but a late goal in the dying seconds to the Strikers meant they got the win 4-3.

The men weren’t without their chances to score, but came off feeling as if the game had been a win having taken ascendancy in the second half.

It was a physical, hard-fought game and gave the team plenty of confidence to know it can remain competitive against one of the teams to beat this season despite being in a rebuilding stage.

Ashley Phipps, James and Ryan Thomson each scored goals and Scott Thompson played a brilliant game in goal keeper.

The club’s strength in its juniors was shown with Sam Lowndes and Keeley Thompson being named in the Victorian under 15 squad this year.

■In other games, B men went down to Benalla 2-3 at Shepparton, goals to Abe Boslem and Stuart Williams, bests to Stuart Withers, Juancho Mackenzie and Boslem. B women lost to Benalla 0-2. Echuca Moama under 15s had an impressive win away over Benalla at Shepparton 14-0, goals to Ryan Thomson 3, Tayden Monigatti 3, Thomas Kerr 2, Thomas Morphett 2, Jonathan Morphett, Courtney Thompson and Chloe Kell, bests to Kell, Jonathan Morphett and Thomson.

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