Narrow Semi Final loss to NSW

Victoria has held out a passionate NSW 21/U Team to claim Semi Final honours, 36-32, to book their place in the 2014 National Netball Championships Grand Final tomorrow, Sunday 16 March.  NSW will now meet Queensland at 12pm AEDST to decide third place.

The Semi Final was destined to be a close affair after VIC took out their Round 2 meeting by just one goal, with the first quarter of the Final picking up where that match left off.  After a costly first centre pass turnover, NSW were put into chase mode as VIC capitalised on their chances.

NSW Swift Maddie Hay tried to lift her side with two intercepts to her name, but some nervous shooting from the NSW circle saw VIC hit a four goal advantage late in the quarter.  Not satisfied to take such a deficit into the first break, NSW put on a good fight back to trail by two goals at quarter time, 11-9.

NSW took that momentum into the second quarter, opening the scoring through great feed into GS Kristina Brice.  The arm wrestle continued as both sides refused to give up their relentless pressure.  While VIC’s defensive zone tried to limit the free space, NSW worked the ball patiently to find their shooters.

After Brice evened the score 14-14 VIC called a timeout, allowing Head Coach Megan Simpson to bring Tiesha Ojeda to WA while moving Taylah Davies to C.  Ojeda’s patience in feeding to the circle was a highlight and, despite VIC jumping out to a three goal lead, NSW worked hard to hit the lead at half-time, 19-18.

Once again costly mistakes early in the third quarter from NSW saw VIC capitalise to hit the lead, forcing NSW into chase mode.  Backed by a vocal supporters group in the stands, VIC lifted their intensity however some aerial heroics from GK Karli Ireland kept NSW in touch.

A great rebound from NSW GD Kristiana Manu’a in the final minute gave NSW an opportunity to even the score however VIC’s defence was too tight to see them take back the lead at the final break, 28-27.

Simpson made further changes to her side for the final quarter, switching captain Amy Sommerville to GS while bringing on Lauren Cantwell to GA, while reverting back to her starting WA and C combination of Davies and Halpin, respectively.

The changes did little to dispel VIC’s momentum, with the navy blues scoring the first four consecutive goals to open up their lead.  The run saw NSW captain Sommerville call a timeout with VIC holding a five goal advantage.

With a place in the Grand Final on the cards, the two State rivals threw everything at the contest.  With momentum on their side, VIC held out a passionate NSW by four goals for a shot at the 2014 Champions title.

In the other Semi Final, defending Champions South Australia easily accounted for Queensland, 58-36, to advance to the title decider in front of their home fans at Netball SA Stadium.

Watch the full NetballNSWTV interview with Head Coach Megan Simpson, plus match highlights, below:

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2014 National Netball Championships – Finals Fixtures
Semi Final 1: South Australia 58 d Queensland 36
Semi Final 2: Victoria 36 d New South Wales 32

Sunday 16 March
Western Australia (5) v Australian Capital Territory (6) @ 10am
3rd Place Play-Off: Queensland v NSW @ 11:30am
Grand Final: South Australia v Victoria @ 1pm
Presentations @ 2:30pm
*above times SA local

Quarter-by-Quarter Scores
NSW│ Q1: 9 – Q2: 19 (10) – Q3: 27 (8) – Q4: 32 (5)
VIC│ Q1: 11 – Q2: 18 (7) – Q3: 28 (10) – Q4: 36 (8)

Shooting Statistics
NSW: 32/47 @ 68%
Kristina Brice: 30/41 @ 73%
Amy Sommerville: 2/5 @ 40%
Lauren Cantwell: 0/1 @ 0%

VIC: 36/63 @ 57%
Madeline Morrison: 9/16 @ 56%
Mikaela Vaughan: 22/40 @ 55%
Maddie Hickey: 5/7 @ 71%

Teams Starting Positions
NSW│ GS Kristina Brice, GA Amy Sommerville (c), WA Taylah Davies, C Sophie Halpin, WD Maddie Hay, GD Kristiana Manu’a, GK Karli Ireland

VIC│ GS Madeline Morrison, GA Mikaela Vaughan, WA Maggie Lind, C Maddie Carter, WD Melissa Bragg, GD Chloe Watson (c), GK Emily Mannix

Positional Changes
NSW│ Q2 Timeout – WA Tiesha Ojeda, C Davies; Q4 – GS Sommerville, GA Lauren Cantwell, WA Davies, C Halpin; Q4 Timeout – GS Brice.

VIC│ Q3 – GS Vaughan, GA Maddie Hickey; Q4 – C Elaine Osei-Safo.