Victoria Netball League: Round 4 Wrap

Championship

Round 4 VNL 2015The 2015 Victoria Netball League season has witnessed its third draw of the year after Melbourne University Lightning and DC North East Blaze played out a nail biter in the Championship division.

In a match played between both shooting circles, both sides would be left to lament their shooting efforts, in particular the Lightning, who led for all but the final three minutes of the match.

Next door on Court 1, Yarra Valley Grammar Ariels and Boroondara Express played out a thriller, with the Express clawing home in the final term to register a one-goal win.

With the margin never exceeding three goals, both sides missed countless opportunities to extend their leads when they had them. In the end, it was the case of the Express grabbing the game-winning goal with 11 seconds remaining and their defence holding strong in the final play.

Monash University Storm got back on the winners list with a convincing 56-34 win over the ACU Sovereigns.

Storm found the tempo to their game in the second half with the Sovereigns finding no match to Monash’s quick catch-and-release ball movement to pile on 31 second-half goals.

A top of the table clash between the City West Falcons and Wilson Storage Southern Saints saw the former continue their undefeated start to the season with an entertaining 50-43 win.

Never seriously threatened once they established a four-goal lead at the first break, the Falcons’ offensive unit was highly efficient (86 per cent team shooting) with goaler Kath Knott finishing off the commanding mid-court play of Molly Jovic and Maggie Lind.

The Geelong Cougars took bragging rights over the Peninsula Waves in the battle of the coasts, to record their first win of 2015.

Staving off multiple fight backs from a Peninsula side that started in sluggish fashion, Cougars’ defender Jessica Griffin was excellent in nullifying the Waves’ attacks as Geelong held on for a 48-44 win.

 

Division 1

The Falcons, Blaze and Express still remain undefeated after four rounds of Division 1 netball.

The Falcons held off a spirited Saints outfit, leading at every change after jumping out of the blocks with a near flawless first 15 minutes of netball.

The nine-goal lead at the first change held the Falcons in comfortable stead, proving too far a gap to bridge for the defiant Saints, falling 43-37.

There weren’t too many problems for the Express who powered to a 55-34 win with a formidable performance.

Full court from dominance the Express suffocated the Ariels defence forcing multiple turnovers in the midcourt with the likes of Express shooters Ella Bertacchini and Nicole Lindley adding the final touches to their teammates’ good work.

A 43-26 win saw the Blaze a class above a Lightning side still searching for its opening win in 2015

A goal-for-goal opening quarter was only separated with a possession break to Blaze opening up a small margin. It would prove to open the floodgates as DC North East’s defence kept the Lightning to just 17 goals after quarter time.

Similar to the Lightning, the Sovereigns are still yet to add to the wins column in 2015, while Monash University Storm gathered their first premiership points with a fighting 44-35 win.

Starting with a bang, the Sovereigns were reigned in by a rampant second quarter performance from the Storm to turn five-goal deficit into a two-goal lead at half time, and an eventual nine-goal victory.

Ruby Horton again stamped her status as one of the competition’s most influential shooters, with a 36 for 41 shooting performance proving the difference in her Cougars holding off the Waves, 47-39.

Despite having more opportunities, the Waves couldn’t find any consistency in the shooting circle as the Cougars’ were able to sustain their early lead to cruise to their second win of 2015.

 

19 & Under

A final second penalty and resultant goal saw the Falcons manufacture one of the great comebacks and in the process, maintain their perfect start to the season with a 43-42 win.

Trailing for all about 59 minutes of the match and by as much as eight goals in the final term, the Falcons rallied thanks to the flawless final quarter shooting performance of Amelia Brock (26 from 29). Absorbing a contact penalty with just seconds left, Brock coolly sunk the game winner after three turnovers between the sides in the final 25 seconds.

Monash University Storm solidified their position in the top four, with a gritty 34-27 win.

In a game built on defence, poor finishing and high physicality, the mid courters Kayla Hughes and Hannah Flanders were standouts for the Storm, guiding to Monash to victory after trailing by two at three quarter time.

The Geelong Cougars joined the Falcons in keeping their undefeated record alive with a convincing 49-34 over the Waves.

Competitive in the first quarter, the Waves were no match for the Cougars’ execution on offense as Hannah van Gemst (34 from 41) and Mary Waldron (14 from 17) enjoyed solid nights in the shooting circle.

The Ariels powered to their first win of the season with a 45-25 win over the Express.

The Express pushed the Ariels through the entire first half before a 25-goal-to-eight second half proved the difference, with Danielle Phillips (34 for 43), Georgia Gooding and Olivia Gigli starring for Yarra Valley Grammar.

A strangling defensive effort saw the Blaze cruise move to within touching distance of the top four, recording a 46-25 win.

Defenders Madeline Pigott, Sarah Szczykulski and Georgia Harper were the catalyst for a keeping the Lightining to just nine goals in the first half, as the Blaze sailed onto their second straight win.