Ards will have a swift chance to avenge Saturday’s Irish Senior Cup defeat by UCD this weekend as the teams cross swords again in the opening fixture of the IHL.
The Cup holders and reigning IHL champions won the first round tie 4-1 but Ards reckon they can upset the odds and achieve a positive result in the rematch.
The Dublin students can boast a star-studded line-up with an all-international front six which includes former Ballymoney striker Katie Mullan.
The Ireland forward hit two of the goals on Saturday as UCD recovered from an early setback after Chloe Brown had scored in the first minute.
However, Ards believe they have learned from the experience and if they can eradicate the mistakes they made then they feel they are capable of pulling off an upset.
“We just aren’t used to playing teams with such intensity in Ulster and it took us some time to get used to the pace of the game,” said team captain Naomi Elliott.
“But we were architects of our own downfall to a degree as they pressurised us into making mistakes and then capitalised on them.
“We gave the ball away too often and we haven’t really played to our potential so far this season but we went home from Dublin believing we can do a lot better this time.
In the other Pool B game involving a local side the Ulster Elks make the long journey to Cork to take on Harlequins.
The Elks have several injury doubts ahead of the trip south, including last season’s captain Kirstie Lammey, who is recovering from a broken nose.
In addition, former Canadian international Michelle Weber has played her last game of the season as she is taking time out to go travelling.
Pegasus, who start their Pool A campaign with a trip to Ballymoney, could be without Hannah Grieve, who sustained a leg injury in the corresponding Ulster Shield match last week.
That game finished in a 1-1 draw but both teams fielded young sides as it was a ‘dead rubber’ and Pegasus will be favourites to get off to a winning start while Lurgan begin their programme in the same section with a home tie against UCC.