Villa aim to play spoiler at national champs

KEY: Villa Maria goal shoot Hannah Glen has been a stand out for the team this year. Photo: Otago Daily Times.

Villa Maria will be aiming to prove South Island schools can match it with their North Island counterparts at the national secondary schools’ netball competition which starts today in Timaru.

Villa won the South Island title for the first time in 10 years last month but will face sterner tests if they want to turn that title into a national one by Friday.

The team will face Wellington East, Mount Albert Grammar and St Hilda’s Collegiate in pool play.

Coach Helen Mahon-Stroud said the team was capable of matching it with any team.

“We want the girls to focus on their performance and not be overawed by what they come up against,” she said.

The team has had two training games against Christchurch Girls’ High School over the past fortnight.

“Obviously, with the club season being over, we’ve had to find ways to keep ourselves mentally stimulated since the season has gone longer.

Mahon-Stroud said she believed her team would be able to compete with nay team, they would just have to adjust to the size and physicality of the North Island school teams.

Shooter, Hannah Glen, mid-courter Georgia Stroud and defender Olivia Burnham form the core of the experience through the court and were all named in the South Island tournament team.

She said in an effort to combat that, the team has been playing against “seasoned adult club players” in club netball in Christchurch throughout the year.

“I think if the team can focus on their goals and what they want to achieve, the results will be favourable,” she said.

“Obviously, this will be a massive step up for the girls but with four of the team leaving and looking to continue their netball at higher level next year and for our Year 12s, I have no doubt they all will be better players for this experience.”