NAN Latta made this her highest goal-scoring season as the Strikers continued on their winning way at the weekend.
The State League 1 ladder leaders destroyed likely final-four team Yarra Valley with a blistering first half that put it ahead 4-1 at the break.
And despite a challenging second stanza, the Strikers struck twice late to run out 6-1 winners.
Latta’s triple gives her 33 goals for the season, eclipsing her previous best by a goal with three rounds to go in the home- and-away season.
Coach Tony Jones described the win as spectacular.
“They levelled at 1-1 in the first half but the girls then dominated the game,” he said.
“I have to remind myself that this is largely a very young squad that we thought would take at least a season to gel.
“The standard they deliver continues to rise each week — their improvement this season has been enormous.
“On Saturday, Nan was great but we had four goal-scorers and that is a positive.
“We play some of the weaker teams in the next three weeks so our focus is to spread the goal-scoring load and, at the same time, keep a clean sheet.”
Meanwhile, Sam Northey’s first State League goal wasn’t enough to get the Spitfires a much-needed three points on Saturday.
The Hockey Albury Wodonga men’s team scored early in its clash with Yarra Valley but was unable to keep the visitors at bay in the 1-1 draw.
Northey was seen as a development player in the Spitfires squad this year but the injury crisis in the team thrust him into the line-up at the weekend.
The 16-year-old scored first for the home side at about the 15-minute-mark before Yarra Valley levelled soon after.
It was backs to the wall for the second half as the Spitfires lack of substitutes and resulting fatigue dismantled their structure.
Coach Andrew Maggs was yesterday taking the positives out of the game.
“Through all the adversity with injuries, we were still able to salvage a point,” he said.
“We started to lose our structure as players tired and Yarra Valley had the better chances in the second half.
“But we also had two penalty corners after the bell that could have given us the win.”
The Spitfires now have to win their final games and rely on results going their way to make the play-offs.