Allora goalkeeper stars for Firebirds in her 150th game
ALLORA goalkeeper Laura Geitz has won the most valuable player award in her 150th National League game.
Geitz captained The Coffee Club Queensland Firebirds to a comfortable 56-44 win over the Melbourne Vixens on the Gold Coast on Saturday.
The defending champions quickly returned to winning form after suffering their first loss in 22 outings last weekend, with a decisive showing.
With defender Clare McMeniman sidelined for three quarters with calf tightness, Geitz played an influential hand for the home team in her 150th National League Match. She switched between the two in-circle defensive roles and guiding rookie partner Laura Clemesha through the match.
A glance at the shooting percentage of each tgeam is a guide to the impact Geitz had in defence for the Firebirds.
The Vixens had their moments but failed to fully recover from a slow start which had them on the back foot from the outset.
Both teams were guilty of high turnover rates during the opening stanza where the respective defensive lines provided ample opportunities.
It was the Firebirds who capitalised the best, their transition through court a cut above their opponents while influential shooter Romelda Aiken made sure of her accuracy in the circle.
It was a different story for the Vixens, who lacked movement and availability on attack which was further hindered by a lack of finishing in the shooting circle as the Firebirds skipped out to an 11-6 lead at the first break.
Making changes to their circle with Alice Teague-Neeld back on at goal attack after a short spell on the bench and Kimberly Commane moving to goal shooter for Karyn Bailey, paid dividends for the visitors on the resumption.
Breaking through the Firebirds midcourt defence more effectively and finding better flow on attack, the Vixens ground out a productive second stanza with a strong showing.
Commane provided the impact on the shooting front while veteran defender Geva Mentor was a standout at the other end as the Vixens clawed back to within two, the Firebirds retaining the slight edge when leading 25-21 at the main break.
The move of Geitz back to goal keeper for the third stanza, gave the Firebirds added presence on defence. Back to her best when controlling play from the back, Geitz was instrumental in shutting down the Vixens shooting options.
With the Vixens hanging on valiantly, midcourters Kim Ravaillion and Gabi Simpson tightened the defensive screws, the Firebirds maintaining their grip when leading 38-31 at the last break.
Firebirds Shooting Statistics-
Romelda Aiken 39/43 (91%)
Gretel Tippett 17/23 (74%)
Vixens Shooting Statistics-
Karyn Bailey 19/25 (76%)
Kimberly Commane 14/19 (74%)
Alice Teague-Neeld 11/17 (65%)
MVP: Laura Geitz (Firebirds)