Niamh McCall admits Strathclyde Sirens can ill-afford another defeat in the Netball Superleague if they are to keep their dream of a top-four finish alive.
And the goal-attack hopes they can get back on the winning trail tomorrow at home to Surrey Storm to give the loyal Sirens tribe a win to savor.
The Strathaven star couldn’t help her side avoid defeat to Loughborough Lightning last Friday night, as the visitors ran out 61-48 winners at Glasgow’s Emirates Arena.
Sixteen of Sirens’ points were netted by McCall, but she was far from happy with her own display after seven missed shots.
The result leaves the side eighth in the standings with one win from the first five matches and McCall, who signed a new two-year deal with the team in August last year, knows that needs to change when Storm comes calling.
She said: “We definitely need to get those wins now. It’s not really an option for us to lose now [if we want a top 4 spot].
“When we play the likes of Manchester Thunder and Loughborough again we need to be coming into those games to close the gap by a lot or really push them for the win.
“Surrey will be a tough game. It will be tight. They’ve got a big dominant shooter and a solid defense so it’s about making sure we shut them down, break their defensive unit and punish them when we get the ball.
“We’ve played the top four teams since last season now and we’ve pushed them all. It’s not been a blow out in any game so now we go against teams that we should get the win against.
“We want to go and put in the performances now to make sure we do get those wins.
“Friday was disappointing. We didn’t have a good start to each quarter and that’s where I think we lost the game.
“We do have the ability to fight back and come back at opponents, but we just need to learn that if we can start well, we won’t give ourselves as much to do and we can just push on.
“It wasn’t my best game either. I wasn’t too happy with my shooting percentage so I’m looking to get that up for the next game and continue to have a high performance for the team.”
Sirens were cheered on by a fantastic crowd at the Emirates and 21-year-old McCall added: “They were really loud. They really push us to get those intercepts and make the best use of the ball that we have, so we are so grateful to have them there.
“We’ve got one more home game now before we go on the road, so we are definitely aiming for Saturday to get that win for them.”
It’s been a big year for McCall so far as she has seized the opportunity to become Sirens’ first-choice goal-attack, following a long-term injury to Lynsey Gallagher.
Her performances have impressed Scotland coach and Superleague pundit on Sky Sports Tamsin Greenway, who picked her as one of the players to watch in the Superleague this season.
The Commonwealth Games in July are on the horizon and the qualifiers for next summer’s Netball World Cup in South Africa take place in October, so that is driving the former Strathaven Academy pupil even more.
“I’m always aware that Tamsin is watching,” McCall admitted. “And that’s why I want to get my shooting stats up a wee bit more to impress her more.
“I went to the Commonwealth Games in 2018 when I was only 17 and I didn’t play that much so, if I get picked this time I’ll be looking to play a lot more and get that starting seven position.”
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