A PIVOTAL second quarter for Severn Stars saw them take the win against Surrey Storm in their second match in as many days during the Vitality Netball Superleague’s Big Easter Weekend.
Stars bounced back from Saturday’s 53-42 home defeat to Team Bath and returned to winning ways immediately with a 51-46 triumph over the Surrey Storm in a game played at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry
After a sluggish start to the match, Stars found their momentum in a pivotal second quarter, as they took a 25-23 lead.
Though Storm continued to battle, threatening to steal the lead from Stars several times, Stars stayed strong, with a stellar defensive display and clinical attack.
Stars defender Sam Cook provided a pivotal defensive stop allowing Stars to level the scores at 3-3 after shooter Maryka Holtzhausen found fellow shooter Georgia Rowe with a beautiful pass under the post.
Their defenders limited space for Stars, who struggled to convert in the attacking third, and Surrey led at the end of the quarter 15-12.
Stars looked to build momentum as Lucy Harris found Rowe alone under the post after clever play by Holtzhausen pulled the Storm defenders out of the circle, opening the space and allowing Stars to bring the score to 17-15.
Ward and Kennedy swapping positions in defence proved pivotal for Stars, allowing them to find their rhythm and space towards the end of the quarter and take the lead for the first time.
Defensive pressure made it extremely hard for Storm to convert to goal and Stars went into the half-time interval 25-23 ahead.
Stars responded to early Storm pressure and regained control of the game, taking a three-goal lead after beautiful up-court play. Multiple mistakes from Stars allowed Storm to even up the score again, but once again Stars responded.
Cook produced two consecutive defensive stops, but the quarter finished finely balanced, with Stars ahead 37-36.
After a cagey start to the fourth quarter from both teams it was Stars who edged ahead, taking advantage after Cook produced a flying defensive stop.
Holtzhausen fed a beautiful long-range ball into Rowe, giving Stars the lead once again and this provided the spark they needed to see out the game. Two quick fire goals allowed Stars to take a five goal lead with two minutes to go which allowed Sam Bird’s side to close out the game.
“We have been hit in our camp with sickness and injuries ruling out a number of our squad,” Bird said.
“However, I knew that, despite the loss against Bath, the performance had been good and we knew if we carried that forwards into the Storm game we would take the win.
“There were outstanding performances from Maryka, Jodi-Ann and Sam Cook – but also credit to the mid courters who had never played in that combination before and battled so well against an experienced Storm mid court. “
Stars face Saracens Mavericks away on Saturday (centre pass 4pm) before they return to the University of Worcester Arena to play Wasps Netball on May 4.