AN EPIC, high-scoring battle between Victorian Netball League Championship division top four sides DC North East Blaze and Peninsula Waves fell Blaze’s way by a single goal in a memorable Round 9 encounter.
Blaze trailed by two goals at both half-time and three-quarter time but held their nerve to bridge the gap in the final 15 minutes and hang on for a 51-50 victory.
Simone Nalder’s 37 goals from 44 attempts, including 10 from 10 in the final quarter, were critical for Blaze, while Waves goal attack Sarah Hogan (20 from 27) was named best on court.
Fed Uni Ballarat Pride scored an impressive 42 goals against undefeated league leaders City West Falcons. There was just the small matter of the 80 goals Falcons managed to amass at the other end.
Falcons led 20-13 at quarter-time before piling on 24 goals in the second quarter, another 21 in the third and 15 in the last to record one of the biggest scores in VNL history.
Kathleen Knott nailed 49 goals from 54 attempts, while goal keeper Casey Price moved to equal top in the MVP standings after winning best on court honours.
Yarra Valley Grammar Ariels are knocking on the door of the top four after consigning an undermanned VU Western Lightning to their fourth loss in five games.
Lightning, missing star defender Brooke Thompson with an injury, battled to stem the flow of goals as Ariels goal attack Gabby Sinclair netted an almost perfect 35 from 36.
Ariels had the game in hand at half-time, restricting Lightning to just nine goals while collecting 31 of their own before cruising to a 55-24 win that put them just one game outside the top four.
Geelong Cougars’ mid-season resurgence is gathering steam after they knocked off Southern Saints for a second win in a row.
Cougars led from the outset and built their margin to nine goal by three-quarter time, then hung on to win 52-46.
Geelong coach Gerard Murphy lauded his team’s movement and intensity in attack.
“Kaitlyn Amore was outstanding with her speed and athleticism dominating the midcourt, backed up ably by the creativity of wing attack Olivia Cameron,” Murphy said.
Boroondara Genesis crawled out of the blocks against Monash University Storm before rallying to post their seventh win of the season.
Genesis were stung into action after trailing 7-14 at quarter-time. They kept Storm to just three goals in the second quarter and scored 13 themselves to take a three-goal advantage into the long break.
Inaccuracy under the post hurt Storm, who shot at 62 percent and went down 46-34 despite having just two fewer shots than Boroondara.
SOUTHERN Saints prevailed against Geelong Cougars in a classic VNL Division 1 battle of the talls.
With Cougars shooter Ruby Horton (40 from 44) firing at one end and Chloe Curran (41 from 48) almost unstoppable at the other, the match was always going to go the distance and Cougars looked the likely winners after leading at every break.
But a 10-goal final quarter from Curran and heavy supply from the Saints midcourt saw them turn a two-goal deficit into a 53-51 win, with Cougars coach Sascha Velduis lamenting crucial skill errors in a riveting final quarter.
A solid first quarter proved decisive for Peninsula Waves in their 41-37 win over DC North East Blaze.
Waves led by four goals at quarter-time and held that margin through to the final whistle, with Peninsula goal keeper Kara Hargrave earning three MVP votes for a standout performance on Blaze shooters Shelby Brady (five from eight) and Julia Allan (11 from 17).
A miserly first-quarter defensive effort was the key to Boroondara Genesis’ 41-35 win against Monash University Storm.
Genesis duo Tamara Luke and Gretta Hankinson kept Storm’s shooters to just two goals from six shots in the first quarter as they raced to a 13-2 lead.
Storm swung changes and hit back in the second half but couldn’t catch up, giving Genesis their third win on the trot.
VU Western Lightning put the squeeze on Yarra Valley Grammar Ariels in the final quarter to come away with a 39-33 win that saw them skip into fourth place on the Division 1 table.
Lightning led early but Ariels found their rhythm in the second and third quarters to lead by a goal.
VU defenders Lucinda Vercher and Sarah Carter starved Ariels goalers Mikaela Vaughan (19 from 30) and Bridgette Furphy (five from 10) of opportunities in the final quarter, keeping them to just seven goals while Ella Bertacchini (11 from 13) and Rebecca Scott (14 from 17) added 11 to Lightning’s total to seal the win.
City West Falcons remain on top of the Division 1 ladder after beating bottom-placed Fed Uni Ballarat Pride 56-45, but they didn’t have things all their own way.
Pride threw out the form book in the first half, trailing Falcons by a single goal at the end of both quarters and putting an upset firmly on the cards.
But a defensive switch paid off for Falcons, with Tracey Brereton earning best on court honours after shifting from wing defence to goal defence, and they opened up a match-winning eight-goal lead in the third quarter.
19 AND UNDER
GEELONG Cougars ended Southern Saints’ three-game winning streak and posted a third consecutive win of their own in a tight 19 and Under tussle.
Cougars trailed 16-18 at half-time but the introduction of debutant Jemma Schaftenaar at wing attack in the second quarter had the desired result for coach Jill Leader, with the team taking a 31-29 lead at the final change and holding on to win 41-38.
Zanna Woods polled three votes for her 23 goals from 29 attempts at goal attack, while Leader said Briana Walters had controlled the pace of the game through centre.
Monash University Storm dealt Boroondara Genesis a heavy 54-33 loss to remain in equal top spot on the ladder.
Storm romped to a 19-5 quarter-time lead and continued building, with Hannah Flanders providing plenty of drive at both wing attack and goal attack and Natalie Billings slotting a cool 30 from 33 in three quarters at goal shooter.
VU Western Lightning reversed the result from their Round 6 clash against Yarra Valley Grammar Ariels, winning their return match 38-33.
Ariels surged to a five-goal lead at quarter-time but had no answers as Lightning came roaring back into the contest with an 11-3 second term.
The scores were locked at 25-25 at the final change but Lightning had something in reserve, with Victorian 17 and Under representative Carly Harrison playing another standout game at wing attack and goal shooter Jacinta Savory netting 26 from 32 to held their side pull clear.
It took Peninsula Waves 30 minutes to wear down DC North East Blaze before waltzing to a 23-goal win.
Blaze were nine goals in arrears and still in the game at half-time, but Waves quickly stepped up their defensive pressure, restricting Blaze to just 11 goals in the second half to set up a 54-31 result.
City West Falcons snapped a three-game losing streak to keep Fed Uni Ballarat Pride winless after nine rounds.
Falcons shared the load in their attack end, with MVP Bridget O’Halloran (18 from 26), Kayla Mallett (15 from 20) and Amelia Brock (19 from 22) all getting amongst the goals. The 52-36 win kept them just half a game outside the top four.