Podium finish: Orange girls power into top three at state championships

THIRD: Striker Tania Jachi was one of Orange's best at the under 18s girls' state championship at Narellan.
THIRD: Striker Tania Jachi was one of Orange's best at the under 18s girls' state championship at Narellan.

ORANGE has finished its 2014 Hockey NSW Under 18s Girls’ Field State Championship division one campaign in third place after going down in Sunday’s semi-final 5-1 to Sydney North.

Firing throughout the opening 35 minutes of the championship’s penultimate clash, a Tania Jachi goal helped the Orange outfit maintain pace with Sydney North and head into the break locked at 1-all.

But the second period was a totally different story.

Battling humid conditions on the third day of the championship staged at the Macarthur Regional Complex at Narellan, Orange faltered to eventually concede four second half goals and be eliminated from the tournament.

Following a three win and one loss pool stage of the tournament, Orange ended the 2014 championship in third overall, ahead of fellow semi-finalists South Coast who recorded a two win, one draw and one loss pool campaign.

Orange manager Michelle Barrett praised her side’s effort against the state’s best young hockey players.

“On Saturday the girls gave it everything they had,” Barrett said looking back at a 5-2 win over Newcastle and 6-0 win over Nepean to qualify for a place in the semi-finals.

“It was hard to repeat that kind of effort again (on Sunday). We did for a while in the first half, but it’s just too hard to sustain that kind of level.”

Losing to Lithgow 4-0 on day one, Orange was forced to win every game to finish in the top two of Pool A.

A 4-3 win over Macarthur late on Friday ensured that dream was kept alive, while the back-to-back victories on Saturday over Nepean then Newcastle meant it became a reality.

Barrett said despite finishing on the wrong end of a four-goal margin in the semi-final, Orange can be proud of its effort.

“In the overall scheme of things, third is a good effort,” Barrett said, with Orange’s campaign coupled with that of Lithgow resulting in two western area sides finishing in the top three in the state.

“It’s excellent when you consider the population we have to draw on compared to some of the other sides.”

She said every player stood up to be counted throughout the championship.

“It’s hard to pick out individuals. The senior girls in the team, Madie Smith, Rachel Divall, young Tania Jachi, played really well ... everyone played great hockey at different stages,” she said.

Lithgow were crowned state champions when they accounted for Sydney North 2-0 in Sunday’s final.