IT'S been a year of change for star Bendigo netballer Ruby Barkmeyer.
Away from the netball court, the 18-year-old has made the sometimes difficult transition from secondary to tertiary education.
On-court, Barkmeyer made the move from BFNL club Kangaroo Flat, where she won a premiership as a 15-year-old in 2016, to HDFNL club Elmore. She also changed Victorian Netball League (VNL) clubs from Geelong Cougars to Boroondara Express.
Complementing those moves was a switch in positions, with Barkmeyer this season predominantly lining up at goal attack and not her former domain at goal shooter.
But what hasn't changed is the same high-calibre of performance Bendigo region and VNL crowds have come to expect from the teenage sharpshooter.
In fact, as opponents her opponents have been quick to discover, she has only gotten better.
A stellar VNL season for runners-up Boroondara Express was capped with her naming in the division one team of the year.
The former Australian school-age representative was one of three Bendigo region players chosen in VNL teams of the year, with Sandhurst defender Sophie Shoebridge (Geelong Cougars) and Gisborne's Keara Fitzgerald (North East Blaze) both selected in the 19-and-under team.
Despite feeling satisfied on an individual level with her season, Barkmeyer said any team of the year or representative team selection always came as a surprise.
"It was obviously a bit of a step-up from last season, coming up from 19-and-under to compete against the stronger women, but I think when you play against the bigger bodies and more experienced players, it lifts your performance," she said.
It's not exactly a new scenario for the Express and Bloods star, who played her first BFNL game as a 14-year-old and has previously represented the BFNL open team.
The only disappointment in a highly enjoyable season was a grand final loss for her and Express team-mates, including former Kangaroo Flat premiership team-mate Chelsea Sartori and Eaglehawk's Abbey Ryan, against North East Blaze, which featured Sandhurst's Meg Williams.
"Obviously when you make the grand final you want to go all the way, so it was disappointing to fall short, but I'm proud of the team," she said.
"We finished fourth, so we didn't have an easy run - getting to the grand final in itself was a good achievement. The girls combined really well."
"Meg played awesome, she was great throughout the game. She was obviously the best on court and played unreal."
Barkmeyer was quick to praise her Express coach Eliza Allen and Elmore coach Sue Borserio for their continued support and guidance in fostering her development on and off the court.
Despite a loss for Elmore against White Hills in Saturday's qualifying final, Barkmeyer believed the Bloods were capable of bouncing back in this weekend's knockout semi-final against Huntly.
Have you signed up to the Bendigo Advertiser's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in central Victoria.