Koenen Takes Confidence Into Swifts Clash
The rivalry between Sunshine Coast Lightning and NSW Swifts has only intensified in recent seasons and Sunday’s match is shaping up to be an epic showdown at USC Stadium.
With 2 wins apiece this season, the sides appear evenly matched on paper but Cara Koenen is confident Lightning can deliver.
“It’s always a good battle coming up against the Swifts, they’re a great bunch of girls off the court but there’s no love lost when we cross that white line,” Koenen said.
“It will be a very physical match but we are really looking forward to it and hopefully another win.”
Swifts pose a different challenge to that of West Coast Fever last week, with a more versatile shooting circle and real depth across the court.
“Fever have a really nice big target but Swifts carry the load more evenly through their goalers, so that’s a good challenge for our defenders to adjust to this week,” she said.
“They’re really quick through their midcourt, so we’ll be looking to stop that up nice and fast.”
Koenen hopes her involvement in the Australian Diamonds campaign will aid in keeping international teammate turned Swifts Goal Keeper Sarah Klau in check.
“Sarah [Klau] has been having some really good games, so for me personally I will be looking to get her on my back a little bit and running a few circles around her – but we’ll see how we go,” she joked.
Swifts will be without co-Captain Maddy Proud in Sunday’s match but Scherian said their depth and experience as a group is what makes them difficult more so than any one player.
“The talent is well spread across the court, they are very consistent and have been playing together for a long time, so that’s what makes them hard to come up against,” Scherian said.
“We’ve played Swifts in a Grand Final and they beat us, so we’re always wanting revenge for that.
“But it’s also a new year, different team, different players – and every game we want to put out our best performance.”
Fever is the only team that has notched wins against both Swifts and Lightning but the midcourter believes there are learnings to take from last week’s match that will only benefit them going forward.
“There were definitely positives we took from it,” she said.
“That first quarter was probably the best quarter of netball we’ve played all year, but we need to learn to change our game to combat what they put out or to get ahead of them.”