BOTH South Coast Blaze sides suffered tough defeats to North Shore United during round 11 of the 2021 Premier League season.
In the open's fixture, the Blaze were pitted against competition front-runners United - seeing the fixture begin at a blistering pace.
The game went goal-for-goal until a Peti Talanoa rebound broke the deadlock, giving Blaze a one-goal lead.
Talanoa was in everything, with the defensive pressure of Kayla Johnson forcing a held ball by United, taking the lead out to 10-8.
Te-Arn Bradley subbed onto goal-defence, but despite their defensive efforts, United crept back into the game through some errors in the Blaze's attacking end.
Talanoa's rebounding kept them in the hunt, but the Blaze headed into the first break down 16-14.
The second quarter saw Bradley drop back to goal-keeper, Holland return as goal-defence and Katelyn Anderson enter the game at centre.
Communication breakdown in the Blaze's attacking end saw United extend its lead early to 22-16.
Dani DiBartolo (goal-attack) and Elecia Parrott (wing-defence) were both brought into the game during the second quarter.
Despite the best defensive efforts of Holland and Parrott, United extended its lead to 37-31 at half-time.
The defensive combo of Bradley (goal-defence) and Holland (goal-keeper) took to the court after half-time and the teams went goal-for-goal to begin the third quarter, until United capitalised on a Kristina Brice missed goal - to extend their advantage to 43-34.
Despite a Kayla Johnson intercept that saw her crashing through the signage courtside, the Blaze was unable to make any headway through United's fast transitions down the court.
Shelby Mallon (goal-attack) and Talanoa (goal-keeper) returned mid-quarter, but United continued to intercept the Blaze's cross-court passes.
United's exceptional shooting end rarely missed the opportunity to convert, taking the lead out to 58-39.
Holland (goal-defence) and Chaise Vassallo (wing-attack) returned for the last quarter and the Blaze found a renewed sense of urgency, with Talanoa and Holland combining well in the defensive end to bring the deficit to 64-49.
Johnson and Talanoa secured intercepts and the shooting combination of Brice and Mallon rewarded them.
Chelsea Bolton (wing-attack) and Elecia Parrott (wing-defence) entered towards the end of the quarter.
Late intercepts to Anderson, Parrott and Talanoa delivered the ball back to the Blaze shooters to help reign in the lead, but it was too late - as United ran out winners 71-59.
The under 23s game saw the third-placed Blaze battle the first-place North Shore United.
United missed its first three shots of the game but eventually settled to take an early 4-1 lead.
The Blaze were able to quickly catch back up by capitalising on some United errors in the goal end, making it 6-all.
Defensive pressure from Selene Chadrawy and Jessica Bowden, together with an impressive rebound from Sharnee Behr, saw the Blaze secure a number of turnovers which were rewarded by the sharpshooting Ky-Mani Schwenke and Emily Dunn.
The Blaze took the lead 9-7 before a couple of unforced errors by South Coast saw United draw level at 10-all with two minutes remaining.
Bronnee Loy entered the game at wing-attack, but a relentless United defence end saw the ball turned over a couple of times with the tall North Shore shooters making it count, taking a five-goal lead (15-10) heading into the first break.
The second quarter saw Mia Evans on as goal-attack and Emily Dunn move into wing-attack.
The Blaze had the first centre pass, which United intercepted and this set the tone for the second quarter, with the score quickly blowing out to 21-10.
It took Blaze four minutes to score its first goal through Schwenke, but the Blaze then went on a five-goal run, bringing the score back to 21-15.
Annalise Chadrawy came on as goal-attack and the Blaze showed solid speed down the court through its attacking end.
The rest of the second quarter went goal-for-goal, with Schwenke exhibiting exceptional offensive rebounding - as South Coast trailed 28-22 at half-time.
The third quarter began with Abbey Baker back at centre and Emily Dunn to wing-attack.
The Blaze turned over the first United centre pass, before scoring three in a row - reducing the deficit to just three goals (28-25).
The defensive combination of Annalise Chadrawy and Sharnee Behr fought tirelessly to get intercepts and rebounds, with Evans and Schwenke rewarding them in the shooting circle, however United's defensive pressure was too much for the Blaze
United again charged ahead towards the end of the quarter, to lead 40-31 heading into the final period.
The fourth quarter began the way the third quarter finished, with United turning the ball over in Blaze's attacking end.
Landrigan was injected into the game at goal-keeper and Selene Chadrawy returned to centre.
Bowden and Chadrawy did their best in the defensive mid-court but it was not enough to stem the flow of United goals, who won the game 55-45.
Next up for the Blaze are clashes with the ERNA Hawks, with the opens at 7pm and under 23s at 8.45pm on Wednesday.
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