Round 17 of the Victorian Netball League has begun, with eight teams in action on Wednesday night at the SNHC.
The Boorondara Express was bolstered by the return of three of their stars, who missed the last four rounds whilst playing for Australia in the Netball World Youth Cup.
Shooter Emma Ryde and defenders Kate Eddy and Matilda Garrett returned to the team, and were pivotal in their shock victory of the City West Falcons, 64-48.
The Falcons held a one-goal lead at the first break, however it was the Express who led the remainder of the match.
Ryde scored 38 goals in the game, whilst Eddy and Garrett were menacing in defence.
The win keeps the Express’ finals hopes alive, sitting in fifth position just out of the top four that progress to finals
The pressure is now put back onto the Geelong Cougars, who require a win on Sunday to maintain their position.
It was also an entertaining match between the DC North East Blaze and Monash University Storm, with the Storm finishing strongly to scare the ladder leaders.
The Blaze dominated the first half, leading 37-22 at the main break.
However, a rally in the second half from the Storm drew the margin back, going down by just seven-goals, 58-51.
Blaze defender, Micaela Wilson, said the match was a good challenge for the team heading into finals.
“Monash certainly challenged us in probably the third and fourth [quarters], so that was probably good preparation as we look towards finals,” said Wilson.
“I think we were 15 up and it got down to three. We did make a few changes but we also managed to get ourselves out of that, so that was pleasing.”
Wilson said that the club has improved this season, with all three of their teams sitting in the top four.
“The growth the club’s done as a whole is amazing,” said Wilson.
“I’ve never won a premiership in the nine years I’ve been playing in the VNL/State League, so all three teams are looking for premierships.”
Tharjini Sivalingam from the City West Falcons was in her usual dominant form in her side’s 66-45 victory over the Boroondara Express.
The Express led at the first quarter, however the Falcons were in front for the rest of the match, with a 19-9 goal third term setting up the win.
Sivalingam scored 17 goals in that term, and 15 in the final quarter, bringing her total to 54/61 for the match.
Meanwhile the Peninsula Waves defenders were on song in their defeat of the Melbourne University Lightning, claiming the victory 55-28.
Defenders Emily McInnes and Kara Hargrave kept the Lightning shooters to just two goals during the third quarter, whilst shooters Megan Rosser and Hinemoa Collier scored 19 in the same period.
Defensive pressure was high in the 19/U match between the Melbourne University Lightning and Peninsula Waves.
It was a low-scoring affair, with the lead changing multiple times throughout the match.
The Waves were up by two at the first break, however the Lightning led at half-time by three goals.
A nail-biting final quarter saw out the match – with just one goal separating the two teams at the final whistle, and the Lightning taking the win 38-37.
For all the results from Round 17 visit vnl.com.au