SEVERN Stars confidently brushed aside UWS Sirens 55-36 to record their third successive home victory in the Vitality Netball Superleague.
After a fiercely contested opening 15 minutes, Stars came alive in the second quarter as they built a decisive 14-goal lead, from which the visitors were unable to recover.
The win consolidates Stars’ sixth position in the table, with two matches to play.
Head coach Sam Bird praised her side’s performance and said the victory had left her ‘really pleased’.
“We’ve been training abroad in La Manga. The girls really connected while we were there and really wanted to come back and show that we’re really well organised as a team,” she said.
“We played with structure and we were really quite clinical in some of our play so I’m happy.”
Neither side was able to build more than a one-goal lead in the first quarter, as both sides cancelled out each other early on.
Stars did enjoy the upper hand in the final three minutes of the quarter though. Relentless defensive work from goal keeper Phumza Maweni helped to keep the visitors at bay, while goal shooter Eleanor Cardwell and goal attack Maryka Holtzhausen found their range to ensure Stars finished the first quarter 11-7 in front.
Stars carried their momentum into the second quarter, racing to an early 15-8 lead as they slowly began to wear down a stubborn Sirens’ defence.
The hosts increased in confidence as the quarter went on, with Maweni, goal defence Sam Cook and wing defence Jodie Gibson winning several interceptions to limit Sirens’ effectiveness in the circle. Stars began to dominate in the attacking third too, with wing attack Iona Darroch cleverly finding space for Cardwell and Holtzhausen, who helped ensure Stars went into the half-time interval 28-14 in front.
Sirens responded in the third quarter, with goal shooter Shantal Slater finding more space as the visitors looked to chip away at the deficit.
But Stars still maintained a healthy lead for much of the quarter, with their quick attacking play overwhelming a stretched Sirens defence and enabling the hosts to end the quarter 44-24 in front.
Stars turned on the style in the final quarter, with Gibson’s precise long pass finding Cardwell who netted to increase the home side’s lead to 48-26.
Stars rang the changes in the final quarter, with the entire bench getting a run out as they saw out a comfortable 55-36 victory.
Stars welcome Team Northumbia to the University of Worcester Arena on Saturday (6pm).
The season ends at home to Celtic Dragons on Monday, June 25.