Severn Stars defender, Dee Bolakoro, says accountability on the part of every player and increasing consistency are key to a positive outcome in their match against Saracens Mavericks.
Stars face Mavericks in the Vitality Netball Superleague, at Studio 001, in Wakefield, for the second time in this campaign, but will be hoping to improve on the result from a few weeks ago.
Bolakoro said: “It’s about accountability – making sure we take care of our responsibilities on and off court puts us in the best position to perform well so that our teammates and coach can rely on us. We matched Mavericks in two quarters of this match last time, so increasing consistency and staying connected till the last whistle is also key to a positive performance.”
Severn Stars, a joint franchise between the University of Worcester and the University of Gloucestershire, has already tasted defeat at the hands of a strong Mavericks side 53-36 in late March.
This was despite two quarters that ended all square, the damage being done in the second quarter when Mavericks, currently fifth in the League, pulled away to an eight-goal lead and then extended that in the final 12 minutes.
Bolakoro, a Fiji international who joined Stars this season, but is a familiar face in the Superleague, having previously played for Surrey Storm and Celtic Dragons, said: “Mavericks possess so much experience, physicality and there’s so much strength in every unit so we need to be prepared for that. Melissa [Bessell, Stars Head Coach] has always stressed the importance of every match. Our match with Mavericks will be just as important as last weekend’s match with Dragons. We treat every match the same. Preparations and goals are high pre-match
so that’s exactly how we are preparing. We’re taking a match at a time, and our match with Mavericks will speak for itself.”
The clash against Mavericks follows mixed results over a busy double header Easter weekend. It started brightly, with a second win of the season for Stars against Celtic Dragons, 47-35 on Sunday (April 4). After opening up an early lead over Dragons, Stars never relinquished it, extending that advantage significantly in the last quarter. This was despite the loss of Bethan Dyke to injury early on in the game. The following day, Stars staged a second half fight back against London Pulse, but it was not enough to avoid a 41-36 defeat after their opponents carved out a significant lead in the second quarter.
“To get another win and three more points on the board is a great feeling,” said Bolokaro. “Despite our loss in the second match, it was still a testament to how resilient the team is. The comeback showed how great the team responds to tough moments in a positive way. We all felt for Beth when she went off injured, it was tough for the team. And to see Ellie [Gibbons], Hannah [Howl], Jane [Taylor] and Chloe [Carchie] come on and playing the way they did, some of them making their debuts, that speaks for itself.”
It has been a tough start to the season for Stars, but Bolakoro added: “We are quite disappointed with some of the outcomes, but that’s exactly how one should feel or react. It shows hunger. When you are disappointed, you analyse and you recognise the areas in which you need to brush up on. Recognise and move forward. Do not dwell on them.”
Stars face Saracens Mavericks on Sunday, April 11, at 6pm. The match is available to watch on the Sky Sports YouTube channel.