Momona tested by lowly University B

As the second half of the premier hockey competitions starts, women's leader Momona would have expected an easier time against last-placed University B.

However the Stingrays were extremely motivated on Saturday to capture the challenge shield for the first time.

An extremely tight contest eventuated. After a scoreless game, Momona won 1-0 in a shootout.

It would not be fair to put it down to Momona taking its opposition too lightly.

The university side has been playing some of its best hockey in its last few matches.

However, it probably would not have expected the determination it faced in the Stingrays' defence.

Neither side was able to mount a huge amount of smooth attacking play and the match fell into a grinding pattern.

Momona had the majority of possession and was patient in attack.

But when pressing forward it was repelled consistently by the students' defence.

Rachel Lecky, in goal, again provided no room for the Momona strikers and anchored the defence.

Lecky has been outstanding the last few weeks and no doubt the revival of the Rays has been lead by their keeper.

While the score remained 0-0, there was an air of inevitability about when Momona would put on the afterburners and pull away.

But as the game moved it just was not happening.

Its forwards continued to create chances, and, led by Claudia Peyroux and Nicole Strawbridge, it appeared to be a hair's width away multiple times.

University was relying on its speed up front and in counter attack created several opportunities of its own.

Former sprinter Emma Hopcroft streaked in behind the Momona defence but was also unable to break the deadlock.

Jaysha Tippins was called on to make some shield-saving stops late in the piece.

The match finished scoreless and into a shootout the sides went.

Momona's superior skill got it over the line as, despite both keepers putting on a great performance, the red-and-black strikers' experience allowed it to score where the students could not.

In the other matches, City dispatched a Taieri side struggling to keep pace with the leaders, and University A eased past Kings United, to stay in second.

 - Matt West

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