A weekend of VNL action

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A weekend of Devine Victorian Netball League home matches across the state saw teams travel far and wide in search of more vital early-season points.

CHAMPIONSHIP
The only two undefeated teams in Championship division, City West Falcons and Boroondara Genesis, had no trouble in adding third wins to their tally, with Falcons making the trip to DC North East Blaze’s home court and stealing a win.

Falcons goal shooter Kathleen Knott made her return to VNL after a year out with injury and picked up right where she left off, nailing 27 goals from 32 attempts as her team saluted 59-35 to consign Blaze to their second consecutive loss.

It took until the second half for Boroondara to wash away Peninsula Waves. Genesis trailed by a goal at halftime before swinging the changes through the midcourt, bringing 19 and Under Victorian representative Lara Dunkley off the bench into centre and shifting Kasey Stanaway from centre to wing defence, but the changes paid off in a 25-13 second half that carried them to a 47-36 result.

Geelong Cougars goal attack Kim Martin executed an almost flawless display in netting 30 goals from 31 attempts and the three votes from the umpires as her team stitched up Fed Uni Ballarat Pride 59-38.

Cougars led 29-16 at halftime and after having their lead cut to 11 at the final change, blew Pride away with a 20-goal fourth quarter.

The absence of goal defence Brooke Thompson didn’t stop VU Western Lightning securing their second win in a row – this time a 42-35 result against Monash University Central.

Lighting took until the last 15 minutes to shake the home side, with no more than two goals separating the two teams at any of the breaks, but goal shooter Kate Thompson’s 10 goals from 12 attempts in the final quarter was enough for them to edge clear.

It wasn’t pretty, but Southern Saints will be content having after wrapping up their second win for the season at home in a 38-34 result against Yarra Valley Grammar Ariels.

Veteran defender Kirsten Daley did a mountain of work in shutting down Ariels goaling options Sophie O’Shea (21 from 27) and Gabrielle Sinclair (13 from 18), but most impressive was promising 17 and Under goaler Rahni Samason, who entered the fray with just one goal separating the teams at halftime and proceeded to nail 16 of her 17 shots.

 

DIVISION 1
VU Western Lightning travelled to Pakenham Leisure Centre in search of their first win for the season and they almost found it before falling just short against Monash University Central.

Central goal attack Sarah Main (17 from 19) made her return from injury to help establish a six-goal lead at quarter-time, but Lightning introduced shooter Rebecca Scott off the bench and worked their way back into the game, shaving the gap to a single goal at three-quarter time before just fading at the death to go down 42-44.

A 12-0 start and some uncompromising defence set up a huge 60-20 win for Southern Saints over Yarra Valley Grammar Ariels.

Saints sit atop the Division 1 ladder after three rounds and they showed why, allowing no more than six goals per quarter as experienced goal defence Ashleigh Hardy ran riot and set the tone for her team, while at the other end goal shooter Elizabeth Nicol hit 36 of her 48 attempts.

Boroondara Genesis lost a half of netball for the first time this season but that still wasn’t enough for Peninsula Waves to topple them.

Trailing 11-22 after a dominant first two quarters from Genesis defenders Tamara Luke and Maddy Balson and goaler Sarah Yule (30 from 34), Waves shifted goal attack Bianca Sanzaro back to shooter and their attacking line finally clicked, cutting the margin to eight goals in the third quarter and narrowing the gap further in the final period before Boroondara kicked into another gear and shored up a 41-35 win.

City West Falcons allowed no more than seven goals in any quarter as they got the job done 43-24 against DC North East Blaze.

Poor shooting cost Blaze any chance at victory against City West, with their four goalers finishing with a combined 24 goals from 46 attempts, while Falcons pair Darcy Saunders (18 from 23) and Andrea Tai (18 from 24 after coming on at quarter-time) took their chances.

Fed Uni Ballarat Pride wrapped up just their third win in two seasons when they travelled to Geelong and upset Cougars 49-43.

Cougars were another team ruing inaccuracy under the post, with goalers Rachel Leader (nine from 16), Anastasia Hamill (23 from 37) and Simone Hickman (11 from 15) putting up four more shots than their visiting counterparts but going down 49-43.

 

19 AND UNDER
Peninsula Waves handed Boroondara Genesis their first loss of the season in a stunning one-goal upset at in VNL’s 19 and Under division.

Peninsula carried a two-goal lead into three-quarter time and hung on despite having five fewer shots than Genesis in the final quarter, as Waves goal shooter Mandy Hanegraaf (30 goals from 38 attempts) helped to put the game away.

Southern Saints and Yarra Valley Grammar Ariels gave their supporters severe heart flutters for the second week in a row.

After both teams drew their matches last week, on Sunday they went right down to the wire again in a nailbiting clash at Mentone Grammar.

Ariels trailed by four goals at the final break but came storming back to lead by three with just a few minutes remaining. Then Saints, led by goal shooter Madeline McNab (38 from 42), found a way in the dying moments and snatched their first win of the season, 46-45.

Geelong Cougars were unstoppable against Fed Uni Ballarat Pride, with goal keeper Brooke Allan leading the way as her team chalked up a huge 33-goal win.

Cougars netted 17 goals in each of the first, second and fourth quarters in an impressively consistent display, but it was goal keeper Brooke Allan who caught the umpires’ eyes as best on court.

Weight of opportunity was enough for City West Falcons to get the better of DC North East Blaze, with both teams shooting at around 65 per cent accuracy but Falcons throwing up 67 shots to Blaze’s 50.

Falcons shooter Amelia Brock (34 from 50) was again a solid target, despite netting just nine of 17 attempts in the final quarter as her team won 43-32 to remain in top spot on the ladder.

Some final-quarter positional switches almost cost Monash University Central dearly against VU Western Lightning.

Storm looked to have the game wrapped up when they led 26-16 at halftime, but threw fresh goalers Stephanie Gibb (five from 10) and Gemma Grimmond (none from two) on at three-quarter time and made a further change at wing defence, giving Lightning a sniff before Storm scratched it out, 40-36.

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