South Canberra Swift heaped pressure on ANU Apex in the latter’s race for a top-four place, and in the process cemented their own finals aspirations, with a 7-2 success in the Friday night Round 8 opener at Daramalan College.
The Swift led by three clear goals at the break, as goalkeeper Cristina Esposito kept a first-half clean sheet before handing over to Emily Pearce, before easing to victory despite a spirited Apex response in the second stanza.
A goal after just sixteen seconds from Sofia Palywoda set the scene, the youngster going on to snatch a hat-trick, and when Leah Carnegie added to that a couple of minutes later, the Swift were well on their way.
Talia Backhouse added the third and Kaitlyn Colwill made it four early in the second half. Apex found a response via Alexandra Serras but within ten seconds Backhouse had restored the four-goal lead. Incredibly, lightning struck twice as Emily Jensen netted for Apex only for Palywoda to reply within seconds of the re-start.
Palywoda had the final word, moving onto six goals for the year by completing her treble with three minutes remaining.
West Canberra Lightning went seven from seven with eight goals as they defeated a depleted North Canberra Fire 8-1 in an excellent display that reinforced their position at the top of the table.
The Fire were without a plethora of players due to unavailability and handed debuts to Pearl Tein and Tatum Mazis, two exciting teenage talents from the Belconnen United National Premier League pool.
But it was Lightning who got off to a fast start as goals from Jennifer Bisset and Amy McLachlan had them 2-0 ahead after six minutes. The in-form Bessie Riethmuller pulled one back straight away for the Fire, but the Lightning were 3-1 up at the break as Brittany Palombi struck.
Palombi was on target twice more in the second half, taking her season total to fourteen and a lead in the Golden Boot race over Bisset who also added a goal in the second stanza. Krista Hagen and McLachlan were the other goalscorers in an emphatic and clinical Lightning display.
UC Stars kept up the chase on the Lightning with a comprehensive 13-2 win over the luckless Queanbeyan-Palerang Power with Reilly Yuen scoring five before being dismissed for a second yellow card late on.
Yuen moved onto twelve goals for the season with her nap-hand, including a thumping free-kick that threatened to behead any Power player that got in the way defending on the goal-line.
It was a performance that saw the Stars score at regular intervals, leading 7-1 at the break and with no let-up come the second stanza. Alongside Yuen’s goals, there was a hat-trick for Emily Daniel and a second goal of the season for Kate Walker.
Madeleine Steinacker was arguably player of the match though, her boundless energy and running consistently creating openings for her team-mates and leading to four goals herself, her first goals in the CFL.
Maia Cameron was best for Power, scoring a goal through sheer persistence and then playing her part as Lauren Quach got a maiden CFL goal, tapping in a rebound after her first effort had come back off the post.
Friday 9 December
ANU Apex 2 (Serras 31’, Jensen 36’) South Canberra Swift 7 (Palywoda 1’, 36’, 37’, Carnegie 3’, Backhouse 9’, 31’, Colwill 26’)
Saturday 10 December
North Canberra Fire 1 (Riethmuller 7’) West Canberra Lightning 8 (Bisset 4’, 38’, McLachlan 6’, 25’, Palombi 17’, 33’, 40’, Hagen 21’)
Sunday 11 December
UC Stars 13 (Yuen 3’, 8’, 17’, 23’, 26’, Daniel 3’, 10’, 28’, Steinacker 14’, 15’, 24’, 26’, Walker 33’) Queanbeyan-Palerang Power 2 (Cameron 7’, Quach 29’)
14 Brittany PALOMBI (Lightning)
13 Jennifer BISSET (Lightning)
12 Reilly YUEN (Stars)
9 Amy MCLACHLAN (Lightning)
8 Rebecca KITING (Lightning)
7 Stella DE MARCO (Fire), Becky RIZZO (Stars)
6 Cara CERUTI (Swift), Sofia PALYWODA (Swift), Bessie RIETHMULLER (Fire)
5 Krista HAGEN (Lightning), Eliza-Jane NORRIS (Stars), Mikayla VAN DEYK (Stars), Dianne WILSON (Lightning), Own GOALS
4 Talia BACKHOUSE (Swift), Jamie BERKELEY (Lightning), Emily DANIEL (Stars), Natalie DE MARCO (Fire), Tayla HAMPSON (Stars), Nicole JALOCHA (Fire), Samantha PRICE (Swift), Madeleine STEINACKER (Stars), Sabrina TOUFEXIS (Swift)
3 Maia CAMERON (Power), Isabella HINDMARSH (Swift), Ginger OLIVER (Swift)
2 Justine ARMSTRONG (Power), Leah CARNEGIE (Swift), Kaitlyn COLWILL (Swift), Sheridan MCELLIGOTT (Apex), Cassia MCGLASHAN (Stars), Nikita PERRY (Fire), Alexandra SERRAS (Apex), Roxie SWART (Apex), Kate WALKER (Stars)
1 Elke AITOLU (Fire), Grace DAVEY (Apex), Emily JENSEN (Apex), Sally KISS (Power), Renee KITE (Power), Stefi LEJINS (Fire), Holly MCPHERSON (Power), Erika PENNYFIELD (Lightning), Lauren QUACH (Power), Shayma TAWEEL (Apex)