Final second victories, grand final repeats and a whole lot of intense competition. Get up-to-date on all that happened in week 2 of the Bupa VNL with final match scores, team highlights and standout players.
After just missing out last week to new kids on the block Casey Demons, Lightning were determined to come back strong. Their opposition, North East Blaze, were seeking a back-to-back win following a victory against Saints at the Bendigo Blockbuster last weekend.
Returning Lightning player, Fiona Fowler, said the loss against Casey gave them an opportunity to make some adjustments and strengthen their team’s structure.
“Missing out to Casey last week, obviously it was a really tight performance by them. We’re still trialling positions over Division 1 and Championships to see what combinations can get us a win.”
A close contest in the first quarter saw Lightning trail by three goals to Blaze but a clear determination to take control of the game allowed them to snatch the first five goals of the second quarter and level the scores up, 26 all at half time.
Despite some strategic plays down the court by Lightning, Blaze’s tight defensive pressure down the mid court and speedy passes into the goals helped them take the lead at three-quarter time. Superstar goaling from Goal Shooter, Elizabeth Nicol, scoring 45 goals from 43 throughout the entire match helped Blaze secure a 10-goal lead and their second win for the season.
Reflecting on the match, Fowler said consistency is a focus they will work on to hopefully achieve an upcoming win.
“We had a really tough physical match against Blaze tonight. Moving forward from this week we’ll look at being more consistent over four to move forward from the two losses that we’ve had and get a win next week”
Fowler also drew on some positives that made her proud of her teammates during the game.
“Someone that really stood out in our forward line tonight today was probably Rebecca Winch who got her first run in Championships this season.
“Our captain, Maddy Carter, in the centre also just did her job and worked hard all game,
“And it was really good to see Maddy Ridley from the state Under 17’s team in WD and GD. She’s got a great voice, great elevation and she goes really hard to the ball.”
Despite an altered team to last season, Fowler said the bond formed between team members during the off-season is something that she thinks will give them an edge in 2019.
“We’ve been working since November last year and doing lots of fitness stuff away from the court and building trust within the team.”
“Hitting the court as a squad as opposed to just a championship team has been really good for our club and our club culture.”
Holding a comfortable lead throughout the duration of the game, it was control of the ball and the game that produced another back-to-back win in Championships, this time for Geelong Cougars.
Despite assertiveness by the Hawks in the midcourt and a consistent 95% goaling accuracy from their primary goaler Natalie Billings, the Cougars plays down the court could not be defeated.
Each player from Cougars knew exactly where to pass as if they anticipated the next two passes to follow, which nicely assisted Ruby Horton to contribute 40 goals to the final Cougars, 59-44.
Unfortunate for Ariels, a loss against Waves made it their second for the season.
A solid nine goal advantage for Waves at the end of the first quarter only matured over the course of the match which resulted in a 12-goal win which proved similar to their 13-goal comeback against Boroondara Express last week.
After impressing VNL fans last week to take their first win in history, Casey couldn’t deliver a repeat in week 2, missing out to City West Falcons by a 20-goal margin.
Despite strong attacking from Casey in the mid court, Falcons strong start set a tone of the match and couldn’t be broken. It was clear Falcons brought their A-game for their first 2019 match at the State Centre.
Doubling Casey in the first quarter, 22-11, Falcons big scores just kept coming to take out highest scoring Championships team for the week finishing with 74-goals.
A consistent game from both teams, Saints determination to take back the game after being down at the first quarter saw them snatch their first win of the 2019 season.
Losing to Blaze at the Bendigo Blockbuster, Saints demonstrated improvement in their attacking combinations, transitioning smoothly between the thirds to utilise turnovers from their defensive end.
An unsettled start from City West Falcons resulted in them playing catch-up to Casey Demons over four quarters.
Falcons, entering the match after a 19-point defeat to Lightning last week, clearly had an agenda for their abilities as a VNL side not to be questioned. From the very first centre pass, Casey’s attackers drove hard and fast to the ball.
A nine-goal streak, six of them from Falcon centre pass’, set the tone of the match that could not be disrupted, Casey coming out on top, 56-42.
The grand final re-match everyone had been waiting for did not disappoint. Being the last time slot on Wednesday, the tension between Cougars and Hawks had been building all night which provided a ferocious fight until the very last second for all.
Close but low scores in the first quarter demonstrated the competitive drive from both sides which followed through until half time. Constant turnovers from both teams as a result from midcourters tight defence with one another saw each side fight for control of the game.
Hawks Wing Defender, Enya Broadley, said defensive pressure is an ability for her team she feels has been carried over from last season.
“Defensively, all the way down the court, we had that defensive pressure which is what we’ve always focused on and I think last season was one of our strengths,”
“I think in the mid court we worked really hard at having options. We had three midcourters throughout the whole game and I think they were working their butts off the whole time which was awesome.”
Coming from one-goal up at quarter time, Hawks lost their advantage going into the second half, Cougars one-upping them with a score of 21-20. Some fumbling from the hawks in the last half of the game proved fatal and provided opportunity for Cougars to make a break to take power of the play, Cougars upsetting Division One Premier Team Hawks, 43-39.
Broadley said it was a disappointing loss for her team, especially considering the circumstances.
“I’m really gutted. We were pretty much goal for goal. There were points where we kind of drew away and they drew away but we both came to come back. Just by the end of it they had the upper hand and we didn’t really capitalise on those turnovers,
“I think we could have been a little bit tighter. In the goals we had to change it up a little bit because Geelong’s defenders are obviously quite versatile,
“Just making sure we can convert those turnovers and capitalise and making sure we’ve got lots of options down the court.”
A stand out for the night according to Broadley had to be Sally Della in their goals.
“Sally Della, she was just all over the shooter and even though they did come away with the win she was just there, every quarter, giving it her all, which she does every game.”
With only five initial players from their 2018 premiership squad, Broadley believes this loss will not stop their pursuits of obtaining a back-to-back season win in 2019.
“Division 1 is always renowned for having a really tight-knit group. I think with Chloe Sinclair and Monique Lenehan-Moustafa, some of the originals, they’re really good at making sure everyone gets to know each other and get along really well.”
“I think definitely after that game as well, finals are a definitely a possibility and we’ll keep making sure we’re consistent throughout the whole season and come away with the wins that we should win,
“We know what we want to go after.”
An edge of your seat kind of match, Blaze fans would have been celebrating all night after securing a six-goal comeback win against Lightning.
Lightning started swiftly in the first half with quick decision making and eyes on the ball to force turnovers in their favour. Trailing the entire game, as much as six goals in the third quarter, a last quarter power surge saw Blaze turn the tables.
Strong pressure down the midcourt and taking possession of Lightning’s rebounds allowed Blaze to capitalise on the opportunities needed.
A last-minute warning against Lightning GK, Hannah Orval, couldn’t stop Blaze’s run, outscoring Lightning, 21-9 goals in the last quarter, to secure a well-deserved win and the largest winning margin of the night.
A steady match from Peninsula Waves allowed them to secure a well-earned win that displayed consistent teamwork across the court.
Increasing their lead by one-goal each quarter for the first three, a last quarter high gave them a double-digit win.
Defeating Peninsula Waves by 10-goals last week, Boroondara’s winning streak couldn’t be stopped. Demonstrating similar dominance to their season opener, Express took some impressive intercepts to gain a lead that couldn’t be faulted.
A 90% goal accuracy from Boroondara goaler, Ruby Barkmeyer, finished off the execution of teams’ versatility down the court.
19 & Under
An intense contest to say the least, no one could have predicted the events of this Ariels vs. Waves match. After a triumphant steal against 2018 Premiers last week, Waves were riding high through the first quarter of the game to start off strong with a 2-goal lead.
“It was a really great coming away from that game as a win. I think it was a really great confidence boost,” said Peninsula Waves captain, Abuka Yang.
A fluctuating middle half of the game proved a constant struggle for control. Impressive footwork in the goal circle from Waves saw them outplay Ariels’ defenders.
“Our goalers really balanced the court, one top and one post. Mid-courters, they were trying to work the middle and it worked well when one went forward and one went through the middle.”
Down the center third, Yang said the partnership of her team was felt.
“Our greater parts of the game were when we game forward and we balanced the court properly. When we let the ball go we really trusted each other,
“I feel as though, towards the end of that third quarter worked really great. I feel like the flow of the game was a lot better and the intensity was a lot higher. Just trusting each other that we can really do it.”
A comfortable six-goal lead going into the final 15-minutes of the match, Waves thought they had their back-to-back win in the bag, but Ariels pulled together to drive hard at the ball. Catching up to Waves, it was goal-for-goal between, spectators cheering with utter surprise at the comeback they were witnessing.
54 all with three seconds to go, one brilliant pass into Ariels goaler had everyone on the edge of their seats to witness the ball be lifted up to shoot. One second on the clock, everyone stopped and saw the ball swish through the net for Ariels to take a final second victory, 55-54.
Yang reflected on the game to take the best out of their loss, predicting the impact her team will have this year
“It was very unfortunate the game ended the way it was, but definitely some great bits we can take away from the game,
“Definitely the second quarter was our highlight. Having Jas come in with a great hold, I think that really worked well and was a lot calmer and our defenders really worked their feet. It was great to see them all working hard on court.”
“I feel like we’re going to have much success this year. We’re all working really hard for that one goal which is Finals. We just missed out last year and we don’t want to having that feeling again.”
Trailing by 2 points at quarter time, Lightning were not one to kept down. Flipping the scores for the rest of the game, Lightning secured a close two-goal finish against Blaze to get across the line.
A tight match with goal-for-goal play displayed strong movement and cohesive passing from both squads to make it a bittersweet loss for Blaze, their second of 2019.
Bombing a whopping 20-goals in the second quarter to double Casey’s 10 scoring shots, Falcons put themselves in a tough to beat position.
Despite Casey’s comeback intensity in the third quarter, Falcon’s lead was too large and they finished off tripling the scoring shots of Casey in the final quarter, 16-5.
Geelong’s strong talents as a team were the highlight of their match this week against Hawks Netball. Definitely a team to look out for, their framework and strategic play on court evidenced as a direct outcome from a successful pre-season.
Holding a 10-goal lead from the first quarter, Geelong goaler, Poppy Douglas, assisted to shoot almost half of her team’s goals. This was made possible by decisive passing into the goal circle, resulting in a 23-goal win.
Falling short last week, defending 2018 Premiers showed up this week to reinstate their position in the VNL competition.
Boroondara took a commanding lead that was sustained with the help of their defensive pressure over the ball to force turnovers, resulting in extra goals.
Despite Saints’ resilience to come back, Boroondara’s 6-goal lead only grew over the second half, finishing with a well-earned win, 49-38.