Lightning start to VNL season for Melbourne University

24/04/2016 VNL Anzac weekend round Photo: Grant Treeby

The Melbourne University Lightning have moved to outright top of the Victorian Netball League Championship ladder with a hard-fought four-goal win against the Boroondara Express at the State Netball and Hockey Centre on Wednesday night.

Lightning WD Elle Bennetts said the team were pleased to continue their unbeaten start to 2016.

“It was really good to come up against Boroondara and come away with the win against a quality side,” Bennetts said.

At the start of the season, we sat down to review our goals and we want to do the best that we can and obviously win the competition and I think we are tracking along nicely.”

“With the interruptions of some girls coming in and out, it is a full team effort and hopefully we can keep ticking boxes.”

Melbourne University were one of three championship victors, with the Geelong Cougars returning to the winners list with an 11-goal win against the DC North East Blaze, while the Peninsula Waves defeated the ACU Sovereigns 53-46.

It was a tale of two halfs in the top of the table clash between the Lightning and the Express.

Strengthened by the inclusions of Victorian Fury players Bennetts, Fiona Themann, Mikeala Vaughan and Shannon Eagland, the Lightning dominated the early stages of the match to lead 7-1 after just three minutes.

Their high-intensity defence and quick transition up the court was a feature of their game throughout the first half, with captain Danielle Stewart controlling the mid-court and providing her teammates with first class feeds inside the attacking circle.

The Lightning went into the main break with a commanding 30-16 lead.

The momentum shifted at the start of the third quarter, with the Fury players sitting out the second half and that is when Boroondara started to assert their dominance.

They reduced the margin to just four goals at the final break thanks to a dominant quarter by MVP leader Ashlee Howard in attack.

Defensive pair Michelle Massarany and Katherine Vickers were also instrumental in helping restrict the Lightning to only six goals for the entire quarter.

Some chosen words from Coach Kaylea McQuade saw the Lightning shift their focus to playing with the right structures in the final quarter.

“That is what we have obviously been working on in training so that when it gets to that intense environment it is going to be that that gets you through and not just running harder and faster at the ball,” Star goaler Mikaela Vaughan said.

“So we tried to really work on that in the fourth quarter so we were a lot more controlled and able to work the ball through a bit more easily.”

The final quarter saw Boroondara get within one of the lead before the Lightning went on a run of three consecutive goals to record a 50-46 victory.

In Division One, the Peninsula Waves, the DC North East Blaze and the Boroondara Express were triumphant.

While in the 19/Under matches, the Geelong Cougars continued their unbeaten start to the VNL season with a narrow win against the DC North East Blaze. Melbourne University Lightning defeated Boroondara and ACU Sovereigns were too good for the Peninsula Waves.

The VNL continued on Sunday with the City West Falcons completing the treble against the Yarra Valley Grammar Ariels. The Falcons Championship side were on fire, recording a season high 82 goals for the match.

The Wilson Storage Southern Saints were also successful in all three of their VNL matches against the Monash University Storm at Mentone Grammar.

Round Seven of the VNL will be held at the State Netball and Hockey Centre on Wednesday 18 May from 7.00pm.



Melbourne University Lightning 50 v 46 Boroondara Express
ACU Sovereigns 46 v 53 Peninsula Waves
DC North East Blaze 47 v Geelong Cougars 58
Willson Storage Sourthern Saints 66 v 48 Monash University Storm
City West Falcons 82 v 43 Yarra Valley Grammar Ariels

Division One
ACU Sovereigns 30 v 46 Peninsula Waves
DC North East Blaze 57 v 48 Geelong Cougars
Melbourne University Lightning 34 v 45 Boroondara Express
Willson Storage Sourthern Saints 53 v 21 Monash University Storm
City West Falcons 57 v 50 Yarra Valley Grammar Ariels

DC North East Blaze 46 v 51 Geelong Cougars
Melbourne University Lightning 55 v 36 Boroondara Express
ACU Sovereigns 53 v 47 Peninsula Waves
Willson Storage Sourthern Saints 53 v 43 Monash University Storm
City West Falcons 58 v 35 Yarra Valley Grammar Ariels


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