Despite both the Tasmanian Men’s and Women’s under 21 sides suffering losses in their final pool matches they will go in to tomorrow’s quarter finals full of confidence in the national championships currently being played in Lismore, NSW.
The Tasmanian U21 Men went down 1-2 to New South Wales Blue while the Women lost 0-3 to New South Wales, but both sides felt they played well and could have easily earned different results if they had taken their chances.
The Men started their match strongly again, scoring first and early with Oliver Smith finding the net with a simple tap-in which pleased Coach Benjamin Read.
“We started extremely well. Ollie [Smith] hit the post just before scoring his first goal, and we were pressing really well and creating plenty of opportunities,” he said.
But NSWB equalised before the end of the first quarter and, despite Tasmania continuing to create chances, took the lead in the third quarter.
“Conceding those goals the way we did doesn’t really concern me,” said Read, “we’re creating so many chances that if we start taking them we know we can get results.”
It’s a point that young attacker Joshua Brooks agrees with.
“We were all over them to start with and found the net early which was good, but we could have scored a lot more if we just took our chances,” Brooks said.
Belief remains high within the group, though, with last year’s run towards the gold medal an ever present reminder that anything can happen and the quarter final is when things really happen.
“We’ve been using the first three matches to fine tune our processes and prepare for the quarter final. We’re staying positive. We always back our selves in, especially late in the game, and we know, no matter how far we’re down, we can still come back.
The U21 Women backed up their win yesterday with another strong performance against the highly-fancied New South Wales team. Despite conceding twice inside the opening 20 minutes Tasmania had NSW visibly frustrated and threatened on numerous occasions.
Laura Spandler is having a strong personal tournament and said that the team felt they were always in with a chance throughout the game, but NSW were just able to capitalise on their chances.
“The players that have come into the team are gelling with the rest of us more and more each game. The overall vibe is super positive and everyone is determined to improve our gameplay from the previous game to the next,” she said.
They now look forward to a quarter final tomorrow against Western Australia and the group are confident that if they can continue to build and play at their best they can produce an upset and still advance to the medal matches.
“I’m really keen to play WA. The previous games have personally given me the confidence in the girls to play our best game and give it everything we’ve got,” said Spandler.
The Tasmanian U21 Women will play Western Australia in their quarter final at 2:30pm tomorrow, while the Men play NSW at 5:30pm.
*Photo provided by Carolyn Scutt