VNL Semi-Final Review

It was an intense night of action in the Victorian Netball League Semi-Finals, with close encounters and come-from-behind victories setting the pace for the finals series.

All six matches were decided by five goals or less, with two matches coming down to the final seconds.

The Geelong Cougars claimed wins across all three divisions, with two of their teams progressing immediately into the Grand Final, and their Championship team winning their way to the preliminary final.

Their Head Coach, Gerard Murphy, said he is proud of the club’s achievements this year.

“Two of them go straight into the Grand Final, which is just awesome,” Murphy said.

“I’m so rapt with the club – we’ve been on a four year path to get to here.”

 

Championship

Melbourne University Lightning 56 defeated 52 DC North East Blaze

The Melbourne University Lightning recorded a come-from-behind victory against the DC North East Blaze.

The reigning premiers were challenged early by the Blaze, who were fast out of the blocks.

The Blaze held their lead for the first half, however the Lightning, bringing on shooter Amelia Brock, rallied to finish four-goal victors.

Lightning midcourter, Elle Bennetts, said that that Blaze played well.

“It was a pretty hard-fought win,” said Bennetts.

“I thought Blaze played amazing so it was going to take four quarters to win.”

“I think one of our strengths is having the versatility and the strength and we just chipped away and stuck to our game plan.”

 

Geelong Cougars 45 defeated 42 City West Falcons

The Geelong Cougars made an early statement in their knockout clash with the City West Falcons.

Led by a strong defence, the Cougars disrupted the Falcon’s path to their goal circle, with defenders Brooke Allan and Jessica Standfield impressing.

The Cougars held a commanding lead at three-quarter-time, however, the Falcons were not finished, getting within three goals of the Cougars.

Division One

DC North East Blaze 54 defeated by 55 Geelong Cougars

It was a tight tussle between the DC North East Blaze and Geelong Cougars.

Blaze led early, however the Cougars claimed the win by one-goal, with the Blaze unable to beat the clock.

Cougars shooter, Hannah van Gemst, said the pressure was intense.

“It was stressful, but it was a good win,” said van Gemst.

The two teams played twice in a row, and van Gemst said it helped them claim the win.

“We just got a feel of what they’re like, how to play and I think we really knuckled down on their goal circle, that’s really where they bet us last week.”

“Being able to work on that at training really helped us win.”

 

City West Falcons 59 defeated 52 ACU Sovereigns

It was a see-sawing match between the City West Falcons and ACU Sovereigns, with both teams desperate to keep their finals series alive.

Sovereigns led early, however it would be the Falcons who were in front going into the second half.

A dominant, 18-goal final quarter from Falcon’s shooter Tharjini Sivalingan guided the Falcons to victory, 59-52.

19/U

City West Falcons 62 defeated by 63 Geelong Cougars

It came down to the wire between the Falcons and Cougars, with all eyes fixed on the court to the final minute of the match.

Close throughout the game, the Cougars led for the entire first half, however it would be the Falcons who gained control during the third-quarter.

Geelong scored a goal to secure the win with just seconds left on the clock.

 

Melbourne University Lightning 39 defeated DC North East Blaze 32

The lead changed multiple times during the match, with the Blaze in front early through terrific shooting from Abbey Ellis and Suli Leota.

A defensive fightback from the Lightning was driven by Zoe Cransberg and Hannah Orval, with the Lightning claiming the win.

Cransberg said it was a tough match.

“It was a really tough game. We didn’t start that well but it was really good to comeback and take the win,” said Cransberg.

Cransberg was impressed by the way the team fought-back.

“I think we just stepped it up… We just got around each other and there was a lot of positive talk and encouraging.”