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

The Melbourne University Lightning and the Boroondara Express have continued their unbeaten starts to the 2016 Victorian Netball League (VNL) season to maintain their stranglehold on the Championship ladder.

Round Five saw the competition shift away from the State Netball and Hockey Centre for the first time this season, with five of the 10 clubs getting the opportunity to play on their home courts.

The Lightning produced an emphatic performance away to the Yarra Valley Grammar Ariels to win their Championship clash 73-34.

It was a different story in their division one and 19/under matches, with the Ariels jumping to second and fifth on the respective ladders with narrow wins against Melbourne.

Ashlee Howard continued her excellent start to the season by shooting 25/28 to lead the Boroondara Express to their fifth consecutive championship victory against the DC North East Blaze.

Howard has been the star of the competition five rounds in. She currently leads the most valuable player leaderboard on 24 votes, 10 ahead of the next best.

Boroondara also recorded a narrow 46-44 victory in division one, while the Blaze moved up to third on the ladder with a convincing 60-22 win in their 19/under match.

The ACU Sovereigns produced their best four quarter performance of the season to narrowly go down to the Geelong Cougars in their championship match by three goals.

The Cougars proved too strong for the Sovereigns on their home court, winning all three matches with their 19/under team continuing their unbeaten start to 2016.

In the other Round Five match-ups, the Peninsula Waves hosted the Wilson Storage Southern Saints, and the City West Falcons travelled to the Monash University Storm.

The Falcons proved too strong for Monash in all three of their matches.

Since losing their opening match of the season, City West are now on a four game winning streak after a dominant 24-goal win against the Storm.

The Waves and the Saints was a much closer affair with just nine goals separating the two teams in total across the three matches.

Peninsula won their division one clash in front of their home crowd 40-36, while the Saints prevailed in their Championship and 19/under clashes.

Round Six of the VNL season will return to the State Netball and Hockey Centre on Wednesday night from 7pm AEST.

It looks set to be a beauty, with Championship heavyweights the Melbourne University Lightning and the Boroondara Express set to fight it out for outright first on the VNL ladder.

A Round Six VNL preview will be published on the Netball Victoria website shortly.


VNL Round Five Results
Yarra Valley Grammar Ariels 34 v 73 Melbourne University Lightning
Peninsula Waves 42 v 51 Wilson Storage Southern Saints
DC North East Blaze 32 v 49 Boroondara
Monash University Storm 40 v 66 City West Falcons
Geelong Cougars 45 v 42 ACU Sovereigns

Division One
DC North East Blaze 44 v 46 Boroondara Express
Peninsula Waves 40 v 36 Wilson Storage Southern Saints
Monash University Storm 40 v 51 City West Falcons
Yarra Valley Grammar Ariels 41 v 40 Melbourne University Lightning
Geelong Cougars 50 v 37 ACU Sovereigns

DC North East Blaze 60 v 22 Boroondara Express
Peninsula Waves 43 v 47 Wilson Storage Southern Saints
Yarra Valley Grammar Ariels 54 v 45 Melbourne University Lightning
Monash University Storm 35 v 40 City West Falcons
Geelong Cougars 52 v 48 ACU Sovereigns


Goal Scoring Leaderboard
1. Ashlee Howard (Boroondara Express) – 144/152
2. Ruby Horton (Geelong Cougars) – 132/154
3. Natalie Billings (Monash University Storm) – 114/130

Division One
1. Grace Parker (Geelong Cougars) – 175/219
2. Mandy Hanegraaf (City West Falcons) – 124/155
3. Shae Gee (Boroondara Express) – 121/168

1. Abbey Ryan (ACU Sovereigns) – 145/182
2. Suli Leota (DC North East Blaze) – 124/150
3. Madelyn Gray (City West Falcons) – 116/127


Most Valuable Player Leaderboard
1. Ashlee Howard (Boroondara Express) – 24 votes
2. Maggie Lind (City West Falcons) – 14 votes
3. Gabrielle Sinclair (Melbourne University Lightning) – 12 votes

Division One
1. Shae Gee (Boroondara Express) – 15 votes
2. Emily Post (City West Falcons) – 12 votes
3. Tayissa Coppinger (DC North East Blaze) – 11 votes
3. Mandy Hanegraaf (City West Falcons) – 11 votes

1. Sacha McDonald (ACU Sovereigns) – 13 votes
2. Bridget O’Halloran (City West Falcons) – 12 votes
3. Ella Quinlan (Wilson Storage Southern Saints) – 11 votes
3. Abbey Ryan (ACU Sovereigns) – 11 votes