Big V 2015: High-flying Boomers set for tough mid-season stretch

Bulleen’s State Championship women have taken the competition by storm so far in 2015, rocketing to a 5-1 record after six rounds to sit third behind only last year’s grand finalists.

With an opening round loss to Waverley their only blemish, the Boomers have early wins in the bank as they prepare for a very tough stretch of games over the next six weeks that will go a long way to deciding their fate this season.

Credit: Boomers Media

Since the loss to the Falcons, the Boomers have edged Warrandyte in overtime, recorded tidy wins over Eltham and Diamond Valley, grabbed a vital victory over fellow finals aspirants Southern Peninsula, and, last weekend, they held struggling Sherbrooke to just 26 points for the match en route to a 43-point drubbing of the Suns.

On face value, the form line doesn’t read all that impressively, with the win over the Sharks the only performance of real note.

However, Lauren Pearce missed the opening two rounds of the season through injury, while import Taylor Hall arrived in the country less than 24 hours before her debut in round three.

Both came off the bench and played limited minutes in the win against the Wildcats and have improved in every game since, helping their side to five successive wins.

While Pearce and Hall are arguably Bulleen’s two most influential and important players, the team’s success has come from being able to share the load amongst what is an evenly-balanced and deep roster.

No Boomers player is averaging more than 12.3ppg so far in 2015, yet six are averaging more than 9.2ppg, while six different players have top scored in their six games so far this season, highlighting the depth of their squad.

Co-captain Pearce believes this has been a major asset for her side and has been the catalyst for their strong start to the season.

“It’s been great so far, we haven’t had to rely on one or two players every week and someone new has been stepping up in games when we’ve needed it.

“Last season obviously Funda (Nakkasoglu) was our main scorer but this season it makes us harder to defend, so that’s going to help us win games.”

Credit: Boomers Media

The fixture is about to get much tougher for her side, however, with a string of tough matchups sure to test just where the Boomers are at.

It all starts this week when they host 2014 champions and the undefeated Hume City (6-0), with home games against McKinnon (3-4) and Waverley (5-3) to follow, before a horror road double against Southern Peninsula (5-2) and Ringwood (6-1) in round 10.

As the ladder stands after round six, that means Bulleen will face the entire top six (minus themselves) consecutively in the space of four rounds.

Head coach Matt Paps is under no illusions about how tough the run of games will be for his side, but the focus is squarely on Hume City for this week.

“Obviously we have a tough month ahead with games against every team currently in the top six.

“The only way to prepare for such a month is purely to focus on the game in front of you, which this week happens to be top of the table Hume City.”

While Hume’s roster is as deep as any in the league, they also have American superstar Colleen Planeta, who arguably the best player in the league, at their disposal, making it a very tough ask for Bulleen.

“Although they have the best player in the competition, it is the fact that they go ten-deep and have some great role players which makes them so tough.

“We will just have to play hard and do our best to limit the impact of their bigs as they have a height advantage, and winning the possession game will be a big key.”

The Boomers will host Hume City on Sunday at 3pm at East Doncaster Secondary College.

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