ORANGE under 18s coach Mel Hope says her side has found its 2014 Hockey NSW Girls’ Field State Championship groove at Narellan.
Harshly drawn division one championship front-runners Lithgow at 8am on Friday, Orange lost to their Western Region rivals 4-0 before bouncing back in the afternoon courtesy of a narrow 4-3 win over hosts Macarthur.
With her sights set firmly on a place in the championship semi-finals, Hope is of the belief Orange will improve greatly when it takes on Nepean and then Newcastle as the race for a top two Pool A berth reaches its climax on Saturday.
“The morning (game against Nepean) will be a given,” Hope predicted.
“Then it’ll be a really tough game against Newcastle. I know we’ll get better and better as the tournament goes on, and we seemed to play much better in the afternoon against Macarthur.”
Looking to atone for a game one defeat, Orange’s big guns hit their straps to lead their side to the one-goal win over Macarthur.
Inspired by the return of Rachel Divall, goals to Madie Smith, Haley Butcherine, Emily Piper and Tanya Jachi secured Orange its first win of the 2014 state championship.
Hope said although disappointed not to get the better of Lithgow earlier in the day, there were positives to come from the contest.
“We probably didn’t play too bad against Lithgow ... they beat another team (Nepean) 12-0 in their next game,” Hope said.
“Chloe Barrett has played well and Madie Smith has been solid, Rach Pengilly is another who has been strong in defence ... if we can win our next two and grab second spot anything can happen from there.”
Orange tackles Nepean from 11.45am on Saturday before backing up against Newcastle at 4.45pm.
Both games are at the Macarthur Regional Complex, Narellan.