Top spot on the AHL ladder is heating up with the NSW Arrows, SmokeFree WA Diamonds and the OAMPS Queensland Scorchers all on equal points after round five of the AHL.
Results Round 5 AHL
NSW Arrows – Victorian Vipers 4-3
Canberra Strikers 4 NT Pearls 4-3
Southern Suns – Wrest Point Tassie Van Demons 1-0
Game one of round five was an even contest from start to finish as the Victorian Vipers and the NSW Arrows went head to head for the SPORTSCOVER Cup.
With most goal chances available to NSW, their first goal was an impressive flick into the net by Rebecca Sanders who made the most of the penalty corner opportunity.
The Arrows good conversion from penalty corners continued soon after as Kate Hollywood hit a powerful sweep across goals after receiving the ball from Kellie-Lee James.
However the Vipers were also active in the first half after Claire Messent dribbled into the circle to take a successful shot at goal, resulting in a score of 2-1 to NSW at half time.
In the first few minutes of the second half, NSW scored again through Kate Hollywood, which brought the goal count to 3 - 1.
Their determination paid off with two more goals, the first being a penalty corner deflection put away by Leah Merrett. The next Victorian goal evened the score.
Again on the right side, Danielle Schubach passed to Claire Messent who crossed to Stephanie Riordan who scored with a tomahawk hit.
However the Arrows refused to be denied and secured the win in the 66th minute with Emily Hurtz setting up a corner and then deflected the penalty hit to win the game.
In the second match of round 5, the NT Pearls was keen to achieve their second victory but the Canberra Strikers were even more determined to stay in the top four.
Samantha Gale of NT and Sarah Young of ACT showed the crowd their determination on the field, scoring the first two goals of the game.
Pearls attacker Olivia Chiu was dangerous for the Strikers defense and her quick pace and ability to control the ball helped move NT into their attacking quarter.
The Strikers managed a second goal through Emma Taylor after a penalty corner deflection, which put them in the lead 2 - 1. In the second half, NT evened the game once again when Mayumi Ono converted a penalty corner.
Renee Allen and Young stayed consistent in the middle for the Strikers. They fought back hard and one penalty corner goal from Krystal Forgesson and field goal by Renee Allen gave them their ascendency.
Although the Pearls were down by two goals, they remained dogged and were determined not to allow another goal. One last foray into the NT circle forced a penalty corner which was converted after the final whistle.
The game of the day lived up to its title as the SmokeFree WA Diamonds went head to head against the OAMPS Queensland Scorchers in the grand final rematch from the last two AHL seasons.
The Diamonds were keen to make amends for their recent losses to the Scorchers and came out firing.
The first few minutes saw
Soon after Hope Munro received a fast ball in front of the goalie and converted for WA's second goal to set up a commanding lead.
In the 29th minute
In the second half the game see-sawed and
Luck was not on the Scorchers side tonight. At one point a shot struck by Shelly Liddelow deflected and hit Angie Lambert in the face and she was forced to come off temporarily. Next a high clear shot from Nikki Hudson was saved acrobatically by Penny Richardson.
Kim Walker was superb in the middle for WA and worked over time to construct play as well as defend. Madonna Blyth and Marnie Hudson worked similarly for the Scorchers.
The game was exciting from start to finish with the result leaving
The Southern Suns have recorded their first victory at the AHL while the Wrest Point Tassie Van Demons are still winless after the last game of round five.
The Southern Suns seemed to have the advantage in the first ten minutes, which eventuated in a penalty from a foot in the circle. A second penalty was raised into the hand of Emily Wilson and the third allowed Kayla Sharland to slam home the only goal after a series of passes in front of goals.
Tassie made a stronger push after the penalty however the resultant penalties were to no avail. Rachel Hampton was strong in the midfield for Tassie and Sharland was consistently in the action for the Suns.
The game was quite even in the second half however the Suns were able to hold onto their lead despite the persistence of the Van Demons.
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