The Melbourne University Lightning made an impressive start to the 2015 Victorian Netball League season last Saturday with its Championship team earning a hard-fought draw against league powerhouse City West Falcons.
Debuting in the VNL under their new name and colours, the Lightning team was 13 goals down at half-time before taking it to the 2014 grand-finalists. In a remarkable third quarter, the Lightning shooting combination of Sophie Barr and Mikaela Vaughan outscored the Falcons 17 to 5. The final quarter was just as thrilling with the score see-sawing back-and-forth. With captain Dani Stewart and Scottish Commonwealth Games representative Fiona Themann leading the mid-court and defense respectively, the Lightning's full-court pressure earned a number of turn-overs enabling the shooters to peg back the score. And with just seconds to go, Goal Shooter Mikaela Vaughan was awarded a penalty shot which she calmly executed after the final siren. Game drawn!
Backing up for Rd 2 on Sunday (the 2015 season has been condensed due to August's Netball World Cup), the Championship team again got off to a slow start before overpowering Peninsula Waves 15 - 7 in the fourth quarter to win 46 - 39. Unfortunately the win was soured by a calf injury to Dani Stewart who limped off early in the game.
Club President Lindy Murphy was understandably excited with the weekend's results, and very proud of the entire club on its start to the 2015 VNL season.
"While Division 1 and 19 and Under didn't register a win, both teams showed encouraging signs for the season ahead", said the President.
"We've been really pleased with our pre-season led by Strength and Conditioning coach Milly Ingham, and together with our new panel of coaches, we are confident that our teams are going to fight out each and every game".
The Lightning returns to the State Netball Hockey Centre for Rd 3 this Wednesday night where the three teams will play last year's Championship and Division 1 premiers, the Southern Saints.