NSL Player Focus: Alice Harvey (Loughborough Lightning)

LAST weekend’s action in the Netball Super League saw Loughborough Lightning continue their undefeated start to the season with a win over the Saracens Mavericks.

Someone who was particularly impressive in that game was Alice Harvey, who at goal keeper really lifted her defensive body work from the second quarter onwards which correlated in the Lightning starting to gain momentum in the match.

This Player Focus seeks to take a closer look at her technique and see what makes her so good at her job and so influential.

In the first quarter on the weekend, Harvey’s performance was not particularly memorable. She was up against Ine-Mari Venter as a direct opponent, but Venter was proving to be the stronger and more influential one of the two in terms of the match.

As the second quarter progressed, the power balance of the matchup shifted. Although Harvey gave away a few centimetres in height to Venter, that did not always matter as Harvey’s body pressure started to impact Venter’s shooting ability. Her body pressure was strong but also well timed as to avoid a contact call enough times that did not result in a caution or a warning.

When defending a shot, Harvey was also very quick to go from front on defending of the shot to body on body defending while facing the ring, in anticipation of the possibility of a rebound.

Her pressure also kept Venter away from the ring with and without the ball, decreasing the pressure on the Lightning defenders and adding to the pressure on Venter and her shooting partner Kira Rothwell to make the shot. Venter was forced to come a lot further away from the ring to receive the ball, and her team mates were forced to do the long throw out the back to her when she was closer to the ring, which increases the likelihood of an intercept for the Lightning and was all thanks to Harvey’s body pressure.

She also communicated well with Fran Williams who was playing goal defence, always ensuring that if one rolled off their player in the ring the other came to defend them. They never crowded each other’s space, and it was clear the communication between the pair was strong.

Harvey was not perfect though and did get caught out of position on occasions, but this was in the minority and her earlier good work had ensured that if she did get caught behind, it was not going to have a huge impact on the scoreboard as the Lightning were already far enough ahead.

Despite this, she is also not afraid to leave the circle and really go for a potential intercept, even if it does not pay off and her opponent is ultimately left free for an easy shot at goal.

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