VNL Round 4 Update

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CHAMPIONSHIP
Peninsula Waves won a pulsating VNL Championship round four battle that could have gone either way against Geelong Cougars.
Waves, missing goal shooter Madeline Morrison, were forced to put former shooter and now defender Kelly Haynes under the post and elevate Division 1 goal keeper Jessica Maher, and the gamble worked early, with Haynes hitting 11 of her 16 first-quarter shots.
Cougars reversed a one-goal margin at quarter-time to lead by one at the long break, but Peninsula turned it around again for a 34-32 lead at three-quarter time as goal attack Sarah Hogan (25 goals from 32 attempts) began to impart some influence.
Geelong swung centre Olivia Cameron (six from eight) into goal attack in the final quarter in a bid to overhaul the deficit but came up short, 46-43, in one of the games of the season so far.
City West Falcons consigned Monash University Storm to its third consecutive loss after a crushing final-quarter display.
Falcons led by just six goals at three-quarter time but blew Monash away 17-6 in the last 15 minutes to complete a comfortable 59-42 win.
Storm tried three different goal attacks alongside goal shooter Stacey Northey (25 from 36) but couldn’t find a combination that clicked, with Sarah Main (five from seven) playing the first quarter, Shae Gee (10 from 18) playing the second and third and former Queensland Firebird Candice Adams shooting two from three in the fourth.
Fed Uni Ballarat Pride is now the only Championship division team without a win after Yarra Valley Grammar Ariels won their clash 58-44.
Ariels set up the result with a 16-9 first quarter, with goal attack Gabrielle Sinclair (23 from 26) playing her best game for the club, while Pride shooter Birgitta Nemaric (33 from 41) battled hard to keep her side in the contest.
Boroondara Genesis got the job done without the help of their Vixens stars against Southern Saints.
Vixens shooter Erin Hoare (six from 12) misfired early and was replaced in the second quarter as Ashlee Howard (13 from 21) and Emma Ryde-Coad (26 from 36) set about building on their team’s 8-6 quarter-time lead.
Stopping Genesis wing attack Wendy Jacobsen again proved a tough ask for the opposition team and the veteran midcourter featured prominently in MVP voting for the second week running.
VU Western Lightning and DC North East Blaze will play in Sunbury on Saturday.
 
DIVISION 1
The top-of-the-table clash VNL Division 1 clash between Boroondara Genesis and Southern Saints lived up to its billing – for the first quarter, at least.
Both teams had been untouchable over the opening three rounds and looked set for a titanic contest when they went into the quarter-time break locked at 10-10.
But Saints’ challenge ended there, with a 14-3 second quarter setting up a 43-30 Boroondara win and leaving Genesis as the only team with four wins after four rounds.
Inaccuracy cost Saints dearly as Elizabeth Nicol (six from 13), Emily Morris (13 from 21) and Madeline White (11 from 19) all struggled to connect, while Sarah Yule netted 27 from 34 for Genesis and last year’s 19 and Under MVP Elaine Osei-Safo was named best on court at wing defence.
Second-placed City West Falcons were forced to do it the hard way after falling behind early in their match against Monash University Storm.
Storm led 12-8 at quarter-time but Falcons came roaring back into the contest to tie the scores at 20-20 at half time as goal shooter Darcy Saunders (25 from 32) shot a perfect nine from nine.
A 15-goal third quarter gave City West the ascendency, which they never relinquished and went on to record a 47-41 victory.
Last year’s runner-up Yarra Valley Grammar Ariels put their first win on the board, defeating Fed Uni Ballarat Pride 54-40.
Having failed to score more than 31 goals in any of the first three rounds, Ariels netted exactly that number in the first half alone, thanks largely to improving goal shooter Rachel King (37 from 40), while Pride’s slow start left them too much work to do.
Victorian 19 and Under defender Kate Eddy shone in her return from injury, collecting a series of impressive intercepts and the three votes from the umpires.
VU Western Lightning will play DC North East Blaze on Saturday.
 
19 AND UNDER
GEELONG Cougars are the only undefeated team in VNL’s wide open 19 and Under division after they dished out a heavy defeat to Peninsula Waves, while defending champions City West Falcons lost for the first time.
Cougars, who will play Falcons next week in what shapes as the match of the round, scorched to a 15-5 lead at quarter-time and continued building their advantage, with young goal keeper Brooke Allan doing a great job of keeping the Waves goalers quiet.
Goal attack Zanna Woods again put up good numbers for Geelong with 30 goals from 43 attempts as her team won 52-28.
Monash University Central are officially City West’s 19 and Under bogey side after beating the champions for the second year in a row.
Falcons worked hard to erase a 7-14 quarter-time margin, reducing it to just two goals at the final change, but with Storm shooter Natalie Billings (25 from 35) firing the task proved too great and Monash pulled clear again to win 43-36.
Yarra Valley Grammar Ariels ended a run of tight results with an impressive 55-30 win against Fed Uni Ballarat Pride.
Ballarat made the early going, leading 7-4 before an injury forced Pride centre Maddie Gay from the court and Ariels took the opportunity to make changes, bringing Victoria Starling into wing attack and opting for twin talls Rachel Smart (25 from 33) and Samantha Gooden (21 from 28) in the circle.
A one-goal quarter-time lead became 14 at the half for Ariels, who continued pushing and posted their first result decided by more than a goal.
VU Western Lightning won a low-scoring affair against DC North East Blaze to keep Blaze winless after four rounds.
Lightning goal attack Kailah-Mae Keepen was the standout among the two line-ups, hitting the mark on 24 of her 32 shots as her team turned a 27-23 lead at three-quarter time into a 39-27 win.
Southern Saints showed they’re a team to be reckoned with after beating Boroondara Genesis 45-39.
Three days after recording their first win of the season, Saints led from the start and were never headed, doubling a three-goal half-time lead despite Genesis ringing in big changes. 
Madeline McNab won the umpire’s favour with a 31 from 43 shooting performance, while identical twins Kate and Emma Smith provided a combination at wing attack and wing defence in the first half.
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