New week, same nail-biting end for Vixens
IT is déjà vu for the Melbourne Vixens as they defeated the Sunshine Coast Lightning by one goal in the dying seconds.
Much like last weekend, one final Super Shot from the Vixens in the dying seconds is all that split the teams in the end, despite an almighty final quarter comeback from the Lightning.
Thanks to an attacking error from the Lightning, the Vixens were the first to score a run of goals and skipped out to an early lead.
Things kept going better and better for the Vixens as their lead quickly got out to as much as five goals, and a minute later it was a 10 to two score line.
The Lightning were their own worst enemy at times in attack, just throwing away possession on more than one occasion.
The Lightning would go on to only score four more goals for the entire quarter as the Vixens scored almost triple the number of goals than the Lightning did in the opening term to take an 11-goal lead into the first change.
Sunshine Coast took the quarter time break to shuffle the magnets, with Karla Pretorius the only one still in her starting position.
There was no obvious broad improvement straight away, but one thing the Lightning did improve was that they were throwing a lot less ball away in attack, which meant their scoring rate improved.
The problem for the Lightning was that the Vixens’ scoring rate did not slow down, so the Lightning could not make much of a dent in the deficit.
The Lightning made a slight dent in the deficit in the second term and ended up winning the quarter by one, but the fact it was only one meant they were still 10 goals down at the main break.
The third quarter was even tighter than the second. Both teams ended the quarter with 17 goals on the board scored for the term, and during the quarter every time the Lightning made any kind of dent in the deficit, the Vixens would respond and extend the lead back out.
There was a bit of an injury concern for the Lightning in the shadows of three quarter time with Steph Wood leaving the court in obvious pain. Thankfully for the Lightning, she was back on court to begin the fourth quarter.
The final quarter though was a very different story.
The Lightning were quickly able to get the margin down to eight goals, but unlike in the third quarter, the Vixens did not stretch the lead back out straight away.
Slowly but surely, the Lightning were working their way back into the match and the margin ultimately sat at only five as the Power Five started.
After the first score of the Power Five was a regular goal to the Vixens, Wood slotted a Super Shot which really lifted the Lightning and the home crowd.
Things kept going up for the Lightning as Wood slotted her second straight Super Shot to convert a very well-timed Pretorius intercept from the other end.
With this shift in momentum, it was looking like the Lightning were going to pinch the win and pull off one of the most almighty comebacks even after the shocking start they had.
Wood then scored her third straight Super Shot, and the scores were dead even with the home crowd in rapturous applause.
That applause was quickly silenced when cool as a cucumber Kiera Austin slotted a Super Shot of her own to restore the Vixens lead.
Wood and her Super Shot prowess were far from done, as she shot yet another to cancel out Austin’s from moments prior.
After the Vixens then ended the Super-Shot-a-thon with a regular goal, it was clear that the aim was to kill time.
With one final Super Shot to Wood, it was a one-goal lead to the Lightning with 45 seconds to go.
Enter the Vixens and the cool calm hands of Austin.
In a mirror of what happened last week, they played the ball around just long enough and then with a pinch of seconds to go, Austin went back and slotted a Super Shot to pinch the win for her team and break thousands of Lightning hearts.
For the Vixens, Mannix (four gains, two intercepts, one rebound) was a woman on a mission from the get-go, while Liz Watson (35 feeds, 21 assists, one gain, one deflection) had a busy game in midcourt despite being at times well matched by Ava Black.
Meanwhile for the Lightning, Wood shot a whopping nine successful Super Shots, while up the other end, Pretorius (three gains, two intercepts, one deflection, one rebound) had a really strong game.
SUNSHINE COAST LIGHTNING 6 | 14 | 17 | 24 (61)
MELBOURNE VIXENS 17 | 13 | 17 | 15 (62)
Sunshine Coast Lightning
GS: Cara Koenen
GA: Steph Wood
WA: Annie Miller
C: Laura Scherian
WD: Mahalia Cassidy
GD: Karla Pretorius
GK: Kadie-Ann Dehaney
GS: Mwai Kumwenda
GA: Kiera Austin
WA: Liz Watson
C: Kate Moloney
WD: Kate Eddy
GD: Jo Weston
GK: Emily Mannix