Melbourne University Lightning, City West Falcons and the Geelong Cougars have all advanced to their respective grade Grand Finals, after week one of the Victorian Netball League finals concluded on Wednesday night.
The Semi-Finals began at the State Netball and Hockey Centre (SNHC) on Saturday with Championship division.
After a five-year Finals exile, the Lightning made up for lost time by securing the first place in the Championship Grand Final with a hard-fought 42-41 victory against the City West Falcons.
Star Lightning Wing Defence Elle Bennetts said she felt ‘pure excitement’ on the final whistle.
“Coming up against such a quality side, to have lost twice to them throughout the season and then to win by a goal was pretty special and pretty satisfying as well,” Bennetts said.
One of those losses was by a one-goal margin two weeks prior. Bennetts believes the team took a lot from that loss and made improvements on Saturday.
“I think we worked better within our units and working through the zones, the intensity and the intent was there as well, so that got us across the line in the end.”
As a reward for finishing in the top two, the Falcons will get a second chance when they host the DC North East Blaze in the Preliminary Final.
The Blaze kept their title hopes alive by knocking out reigning premiers, the Boroondara Express, 49-35.
On Wednesday night, the SNHC hosted the Division One and 19/Under Semi-Finals.
In a pulsating contest, the Falcons upstaged the Blaze to secure a place in the Division One Grand Final, winning 42-36.
The Blaze will now take on the Boroondara Express in the Preliminary Final next week.
The Express earned themselves a spot in week two of the Finals with a nail-biting two-goal victory against the Geelong Cougars.
In the 19/Under division, the Cougars booked themselves a place in the Grand Final with a 51-45 victory against the Blaze.
It continued their impressive campaign after they finished the regular season on top of the ladder with 17 wins and a draw.
The Blaze will now meet the Falcons in week two of the finals after City West defeated the ACU Sovereigns by nine-goals in the second Semi-Final.
The VNL Preliminary Finals will be held at the SNHC on Wednesday 17 August.
VNL Semi-Finals Results
Melbourne University Lightning 42 def City West Falcons 41
DC North East Blaze 49 def 32 Boroondara Express
City West Falcons 42 def 36 DC North East Blaze
Boroondara Express 59 def 57 Geelong Cougars
Geelong Cougars 51 def 45 DC North East Blaze
City West Falcons 60 def 51 ACU Sovereigns
For the latest VNL news, results and statistics visit vnl.com.au
Photo: Grant Treeby | Treeby Images