Peace Proscovia is ready to hit the ground running after an impressive campaign in 2017.
The Uganda captain struck terror into the hearts of Superleague defenders, dominating in the circle and displaying her shooting prowess by winning the Gilbert Netball Goalden Shot Award after netting a whopping 812 goals.
And Proscovia, who is now in her fourth season with the side, has sent out a warning to the rest of the teams that Lightning will be at the top of their game after learning lessons from last year.
She said: “All I can say is that we as Loughborough Lightning need to put in the same effort to try and correct where we did not do certain things right.
“Overall, I think it will be a good season and people should expect the best from us.
“They should also expect best from me personally. I can’t promise anything as an athlete because as an athlete you never know what is to come but I will do everything I can within my means.
“The aim is to hit the goal and that is what we are working hard for.
“We are taking every game one at a time as that’s the best thing we can do – we can’t tackle everything at once.”
One key change in the off-season for Lightning has been the departure of Karen Atkinson, who left the club after guiding the team to table topping success in 2017.
Lightning unveiled former England international Anna Carter as their new Director of Netball.
In 2017 Carter took up the Lightning U21 Head Coach role, guiding the team to victory at the season ending tournament, so is familiar with the Loughborough University franchise.
And Proscovia believes there’s been a smooth transition between Atkinson and Carter.
She said: “I don’t think the change in head coach has impacted the pre-season because Lightning players are adaptable – they adapt to situations and a change of coach is just psychological.
“The coaches do their part but it ultimately must be down to what the players do on court.”
The 10-team competition was bigger and better than ever in 2017, with so much excitement and many unpredictable results, and fans were treated to a weekly spectacle of high-quality netball.
The expectations are that this season will be even more competitive and closer than ever before.
Proscovia said: “Looking at the Superleague teams around, this year’s league is going to be interesting!
“It’s going to be interesting in that the top four may not be determined from sight.
“We might say that we are making top four not knowing that other teams have sharpened their eye as well and are coming in and with player movements it’s going to be an interesting season.”
After their stellar performances in 2017, in which they only lost once in the regular season, Lightning players stole the show at the Goalden Globe Awards.
Both the VNSL Players’ Player of the Season and the Vitality Player of the Season Awards went to Proscovia, Vicki Oyesola collected the Young Player of the Season accolade, and Proscovia and Beth Cobden were both named in the All Star VII.
And Proscovia is delighted that the core unit from last season have all re-signed to the club.
She said: “The best thing Loughborough did this time round is to retain most of the players from last season because having them means that they will build on from last season to this season.”
So which of her teammates does Proscovia believe will have a considerable impact this campaign?
She said: “Ella Clark is coming off injury and as a team we are excited to get her back and Nat Panagarry is one of our best players.
“You’ve also got to be looking at Beth Cobden, who plays for England.
“I could mention the entire squad as we are all good to go but the fans should expect performances from every player that Loughborough has!”
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