3 May 2016

Mystics score first win of the season

6:15 am on 3 May 2016

The Northern Mystics have scored their first win of the trans-Tasman netball competition beating the Adelaide Thunderbirds 52-49 in Auckland.

Northern Mystics players Nadia Loveday, Kayla Cullen and Serena Guthrie celebrate a win 2016.

Northern Mystics players Nadia Loveday, Kayla Cullen and Serena Guthrie celebrate a win 2016. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

While the Mystics led early, they were behind at three-quarter time, before fighting back for their maiden win of the season.

Defender Anna Harrison was outstanding for the homeside, while Cathrine Tuivaiti shot 97 percent.

The Mystics are now third in the New Zealand conference, while the Thunderbirds are bottom of the Australian Conference without a win after 5 rounds.

The volleyball skills of Harrison came to the fore in the game.

A former international volleyball star, Harrison leaped, dived and even spiked the ball away from Thunderbird hands as she returned to her old haunt at goal keep. She was a constant thorn in the side of the Thunderbirds, who have been decimated by illness and injury this season, and are yet to notch up a win in 2016.

Although the Mystics led by seven early in the clash, they could not claim to dominate - they even trailed the Adelaide side at the three-quarter break. But they will take heart from their final quarter fightback and a more coordinated assault throughout the court.

The Mystics' attack was more decisive from the outset. They looked early and long to Cathrine Tuivaiti and found her receptive, scoring 11 from 11 in the first spell; her partner Maria Tutaia's cannonball passes and own long-range shots were also deadly.

Mystics coach debbi Fulton said consistency was the key, "we were actually able to work our way and find a way to win and what that meant was our attack had to be really clinical and disciplined and our defence had to go back to structures to put everyone on the same page to turn over ball."

"I'm really proud we were able to keep the Thunderbirds to seven goals in the last quarter."

Goal attack Maria Tutaia suffered an ankle injury late in the game and Fuller is hopeful she'll be okay.

Mystics Shooting Statistics

Cathrine Tuivaiti 28/29 (97%)

Maria Tutaia 24/30 (80%)

Thunderbirds Shooting Statistics

Carla Borrego 36/42 (86%)

Erin Bell 13/18 (72%)

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