SHARP SHOOTER: Fifteen-year-old Sovereign Sacha McDonald’s work in the circle has fast captured attention. Picture: courtesy Netball VictoriaATHLETIC Sovereigns goaler Sacha McDonald has earned a spot in the Victorian Netball League 19/under all-star team.
And she is only 15.
McDonald formeda double-barrelled attack with sharp shooter Abbey Ryan, who was a top contender for the VNL19/under most valuable player award.
Such attention for Ryan drew extra attention from rival circle defenders, allowing McDonald a chance to really develop her game.
Neither are the tall, long-limbed goalers that tend to stand out for selectors, but McDonald and Ryan complement each other’s game and move well in the circle. This was their first season playing together. Zoe Ottavi, who could work in as a goaling option, stepped up her game immensely as the season played out.
VNL team of the year honours for McDonald continue to reinforce her talent in the game. The Edenhope and Ballarat Clarendon College netballer was this month named in her second School Sport Victoria 15/under team.
ACU Sovereigns 19/under coach Kerry Lightfoot said the all-star recognition was fantastic reward for McDonald, who has been named alongside decorated big-name state and national representatives.
“I think a lot of people are aware that Sacha’s a huge netball talent and she’s talented across a few sports,” Lightfoot said.
“She’ll have some big things on offer for her if she continues to make netball a top sporting priority.”
Sovereigns reached the 19/under preliminary final in their inaugural season, losing by seven goals to Geelong Cougars. McDonald’s best game was in a semi-final win against Southern Saints –she shot 26 goals from 28 attempts at 93 per cent accuracy.
Lightfoot said going so deep into finals was a real testament to how well her players worked as a team. They are young –only Emily Atkinson graduates from 19/unders next season–and were weekly faced with stellar opponents.
Sovereigns hope to keep a core group together in the VNL 19/unders next year. Trials start in late July.
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