Severn Stars’ captain, Maryka Holtzhausen, says this weekend’s match against Saracens Mavericks is a chance to see how much her team has progressed since their last encounter.
Though Mavericks came away the victors then and now sit fifth in the table, Holtzhausen believes that when Stars put out a good performance they are capable of beating anyone.
She said the players are also keen to redress the mistakes made the previous time around as they face Mavericks, away at the University of Essex, in Colchester, on Saturday (April 27) at 4pm.
“I’m very excited for our match against Mavericks,” said Holtzhausen. “It will be a good opportunity to see how far we have come since the first round against them.
“We are expecting a tough encounter, but looking forward to match ourselves against one of the top teams.”
Stars were left disappointed in the home fixture against Mavericks, which they lost 46-64 back in March.
But since then, the team has been on a good run, with five wins, including against Manchester Thunder, a one-goal loss against Loughborough Lightning, and pushing defending champions Wasps Netball close.
Their recent form has seen them take four wins in the last five games.
Holtzhausen said that the victory against Manchester Thunder earlier this month had been key.
“A winning team is a happy team – as the saying goes,” she said. “Getting that win over Thunder has really put the squad into a new gear.
“We are positive in everything we do, because we are capable of beating any team. We just need to put out a good performance.
“I think that first performance against Mavericks was something we knew we didn’t want to repeat again and we have been working very hard to not make the same mistakes again. Saturday will be a great opportunity to have a better overall performance.
“Mavericks are very physical in defence and have a lot of speed in their attack. We will need to take care of the ball, retaining possession and capitalising on any turnover we get.
“We know our defenders can win ball, we just need to look after that bonus possession as best as possible.”
Stars emerged from the Vitality Netball Superleague’s Big Easter Weekend, in which all teams played twice, with one win, but were hampered by several players suffering from illness or being ruled out on medical grounds.
Though they were defeated by Team Bath 42-53, they responded with a win the next day against Surrey Storm, 46-51.
“I think we performed well over the weekend, considering we have a few niggles in the squad,” said Holtzhausen. “I would have liked to run Bath closer on Saturday, but I am really proud of the way we played against Storm, which was a really important match for us.”
Reflecting on the season so far, with two games to go, Holtzhausen added: “After another slow start to the season, we really picked up our performances over the last few rounds.
“We obviously wanted to still be in the running for the top four, but we have had some great performances to be really proud of.
“We are definitely going into these last rounds with a positive mindset.
“Focusing on the performance we put out, rather than the outcome. Consistency is key and at the forefront of what we want to achieve in the last two rounds.”
Stars are next at home again for their last game of the season against Wasps Netball, at the University of Worcester Arena, on Saturday May 4, at 6pm. For tickets visit www.ticketline.co.uk/netball-superleague-severn-stars#bio.
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Image credit: Andrew Taylor