AS one of the better defenders in the Orange Netball Association division one competition, High A skipper Sophia Kloosterman imparts an imposing figure on most of her shooting opponents.
But it hasn’t always been that way.
“In my first year I was terrified,” laughs the 18-year-old, now in her fifth year of division one.
“We have a Year 8 girl in the team this year and I can relate to her so much because it is terrifying, especially people like Mardi [Aplin] who are in Life Studio, she’s incredible. The first year I played her I was shaking.
“Now I’m not as bad, so I can help the others girls out with it.”
The Year 12 Orange High School student has been at the forefront of High A’s push to challenge the likes of Aplin’s Life Studio and defending premiers Robin Hood since debuting in 2010, and Kloosterman is hoping the school-based outfit will again step up against the ONA big guns in 2014 - starting on Saturday.
“I think we’ll go well,” she said ahead of today’s clash with Life Studio.
“We’ve been watching them the past few weeks and seeing who the key players are.”
She added games like today’s clash with Life Studio were a learning experience as well as a chance for three crucial competition points.
“We do have a really young team, so it’s just about building everyone up. It’s progressing well,” Kloosterman said, adding the exposure to high-level netball on a weekly basis was invaluable to the High A girls come time to compete in school-based netball competitions.
“A lot of people at school probably don’t get it, they just think we’re a school team, but the [ONA] competition is great. It’s so different to many other towns and the players we compete against are amazing.”
With the undefeated Robin Hood and Life Studio again firming as this year’s major title contenders, Kloosterman said her side was eyeing off Royal Hawks as this year’s biggest hurdle to that third place position on the ladder.
“We’d love to come third,” she smiled, High A also undefeated through three rounds of the 2014 ONA division one premiership.
“We wanted third last year but just came up a bit short. I think a lot of the teams have changed. Hawks have a whole lot of new teams ... I think just being able to play together and have fun really, we’ll try and win but just having fun and getting better.”
High A takes on Life Studio from 1.10pm on court A.
In Saturday's other games, Robin Hood Orange Glass meet CYMS Gladiators, Royal Hawks face Hawks Ace Drilling and LS DVM Embroidery will play KWS 1sts.