Warrnambool Rangers women prepare for run to Ballarat District Soccer Association finals

NEW ROLE: Ebony Smith (second from left) has been relishing the chance to play in attack in recent weeks for the Warrnambool Rangers. Picture: Rob Gunstone
NEW ROLE: Ebony Smith (second from left) has been relishing the chance to play in attack in recent weeks for the Warrnambool Rangers. Picture: Rob Gunstone

WARRNAMBOOL Rangers player Ebony Smith is confident the Rangers can bounce back quickly from a loss as they tackle the run to finals.

The Rangers’ undefeated streak came to an end on the weekend, when the depleted side – missing three players through injury and captain Raya Rantall who was overseas – went down to third-placed Ballarat 2-1.

“I’ll be honest, we probably didn’t play our best game,” Smith said. “(But) we have our full team this weekend against Ballarat North United, they’re obviously good opposition.”

The Rangers and North United have split their encounters one-apiece so far this season, with the Ballarat-based club winning the first against an understrength Warrnambool, before the Rangers flipped the result in their next match.

Smith, who started out the season in defence, has been been finding her feet in attack in recent weeks.

She booted two goals against Bacchus Marsh and another against Forest Rangers the following week.

“I think my skill level has improved, and my fitness level,” she said.

The 22-year-old was hopeful the Rangers would be able to hold on to their top-two placing with four matches to go and, after a few tough games, could capitalise on an easier fixture in the final round to improve their goal differential.

The Rangers have had to adjust to life as the hunted this year after winning the 2016 Ballarat and District league championship, but Smith said they had risen to the challenge.

“Everyone has worked really hard and I hope we do come out with good results.”