BIG numbers from goal shooter Simone Nalder helped DC North East Blaze to a 28-goal win over an injury-depleted Fed Uni Ballarat Pride in Round 8 of VNL’s Championship division.
Nalder netted 45 of her 49 attempts to lead her team agonisingly close to the 70-goal mark, but they fell just short, 69-41 in a high-scoring Round 8 affair.
Pride were missing regular players Lauren Atkinson and Cassie Pearce through injury and were outgunned from the start, falling behind 32-20 by half-time.
Ballarat’s coaches admitted they were simply “outplayed”, despite the efforts of defenders Sarah Milton and Emma Ryan, but said the winless team’s combinations were continuing to grow each week.
Peninsula Waves provided the upset of the round by trouncing Boroondara Genesis 56-40
Waves won every quarter against second-placed Genesis, with Madeline Morrison (41/56) playing her best game of the season at goal shooter and earning three votes from the umpires.
Genesis trailed 17-12 at quarter-time and couldn’t make inroads, falling another five goals behind in the second quarter and four more in the last as they collapsed to their second loss of the year.
Monash University Storm turned a five-goal quarter-time deficit into a five-goal win against Southern Saints.
Flawless shooting from Saints goalers Elizabeth Nicol and Teagan Collins helped Saints skip to a 13-8 lead at the first break, but Monash flung Shae Gee (21/31) from goal shooter into goal attack and brought Stacey Northey (25/31) off the bench and into goal shooter to turn the match around.
They led 24-21 by half-time and continued pushing to record a 49-44 win.
Consistency was the key in Geelong Cougars’ much-needed victory over Yarra Valley Grammar Ariels.
Cougars goalers Kim Martin (34/35) and Elle Rice (13/16) barely missed in the 47-44 win, while Ariels wasted many of their opportunities in attack.
With Geelong wing attack Olivia Cameron and centre Kaitlyn Amor delivering consistent supply, Cougars led by five goals at half-time and withstood a late Ariels charge to end a four-game losing streak.
VU Western Lightning became the only team to get within 10 goals of City West Falcons but still came up short against the undefeated ladder leaders.
Lightning went with Falcons in the first quarter and trailed by just two goals, but City West opened the match up with a decisive 15-7 second quarter before going on to win 48-39.
No team had gotten within 17 goals of Falcons but that will be little consolation for Lightning, who now slip outside the top four.
GEELONG Cougars came from the clouds to overhaul an 11-goal half-time deficit and beat Yarra Valley Grammar Ariels in Division 1.
Ariels appeared to have the game well in hand after restricting Geelong to just 13 goals in the first half while scoring 24 of their own, but Cougars were a different team after the long break.
They narrowed the gap to two goals at three-quarter time as defensive duo Zoe Donne and Nikki Cook seized control.
Cougars’ defensive end held Ariels goalers Bridgette Furphy (21/28) and Sophie O’Kane (14/25) to just five goals in the third quarter and six in the last as they ran out 38-35 winners.
City West Falcons did the damage in the first half against VU Western Lightning, beating the top-four hopefuls 51-40 to remain on top of the ladder.
Georgia Berry scored three votes from the umpires for her game at goal keeper as Falcons kept Lightning to just seven goals in the first quarter, while Andrea Tai (30/31) was outstanding for City West at the other end.
A dogged defensive effort paved the way for a Boroondara Genesis win over Peninsula Waves.
Genesis held Waves to no more than seven goals in any quarter as they record their sixth win of the season, 41-27.
It was the usual suspects currying the umpires’ favour for Boroondara, with centre Krista Tomlinson and goal defence Tamara Luke both polling votes.
Southern Saints rode another best on court performance from Ashleigh Hardy and a 41-from-43 shooting display from Chloe Curran to deal Monash University Storm a heavy 54-32 loss.
Saints had the result firmly in hand after just one quarter, taking a 15-6 lead and never looking troubled as they continued to build the margin throughout the next three. They remain in second place on the ladder.
Fed Uni Ballarat Pride missed an opportunity to haul themselves off the bottom of the ladder after a 55-33 loss against DC North East Blaze.
Both teams had managed just one win in the opening seven rounds of the season, but Blaze had Pride’s measure from the outset and led by 11 goals at half-time.
Pride had few answers for Blaze goal shooter Julia Allan (31/36), while centre and wing defence Casey Adamson was named best on court.
19 AND UNDER
TWO top-four stoushes went the way of the underdogs in the 19 and Under division, with fourth-placed Southern Saints ending ladder leaders Monash University Storm’s six-game winning streak and third-placed Geelong Cougars upsetting second-placed Yarra Valley Grammar Ariels.
Saints led at none of the quarter breaks except the one that mattered, overhauling a two-goal deficit in the final quarter to beat Storm 39-35.
Southern Saints coach Jacqui Toy said the injection of goal attack Alex Maher (4/6) into the game at three-quarter time provided the spark required, while goal shooter Madeline McNab (28/36) and goal keeper Zoe Lay were impressive across the four quarters.
Cougars ended Ariels’ four-game winning streak despite trailing for most of the game.
Ariels were slick early and raced to a first-quarter lead, but Geelong remained in the contest due to the accuracy of goalers Jaclyn Lang (29/31) and Zanna Woods (24/27).
Cougars hit the lead shortly before three-quarter time and raced away with the game in a 16-8 final quarter to coast to a 53-43 win and move back to the top of the 19 and Under division.
VU Western Lightning inflicted City West Falcons’ third consecutive loss after a tense final quarter.
Lightning led at every change but couldn’t quite shake the 2013 premiers, with Falcons trailing by just five goals at three-quarter time.
Kailah-Mae Keepen took the three MVP votes for her 19 goals from 23 attempts as Lightning held on to win 38-34.
One of either DC North East Blaze or Fed Uni Ballarat Pride was finally going to receive its first points for the season in Round 8, with the competition’s two winless teams squaring off.
It was Blaze who emerged victorious, 45-35, after winning every quarter but the last and managing to get all 12 players on court.
Pride’s coaches said their defensive line of Amy Starzer, Rylee Connell and Kelly Conroy provided the team with opportunities to win but that the team was wasteful in attack.
Blaze centre Maddison Wallmeyer struck out on her own at the top of the MVP table after another best on court performance.
Peninsula Waves hung onto top-four contention in a tight 39-36 win over Boroondara Genesis.
Waves led 23-16 at quarter-time but Genesis motored back into the contest with a 12-7 third quarter and trailed by just two goals after bringing Abby Healy (12/16) off the bench and into goal shooter.
But Waves steadied in the closing stages to capture their fifth win of the season.