Lightning ends Vixens' finals hopes
Monday, 06 August 2018
The Melbourne Vixens have missed out on making the 2018 finals series, going down to the Sunshine Coast Lightning in Melbourne today, 51-56.
It was a match with everything riding on it – just one of the two teams would make finals, with the Lightning in the box seat.
Faced with a difficult task against the reigning premiers, the Vixens would have to win the match and all four bonus points or win the match by more than five goals with three bonus points to make the finals series. A win alone would not do it.
Adding to the daunting task is the absence of star shooter, Mwai Kumwenda, who ruptured her ACL in last weekend’s match against the Queensland Firebirds.
Adding experienced goaler, Kim Commane and Deakin University Australian Netball League MVP Rahni Samason to the list, the Vixens were ready to fight for their spot in the finals.
And fight they did, taking it to the Lightning in the first quarter and claiming the first bonus point of the match.
Commane, who earnt herself the starting Goal Shooter spot on court, impressed being the highest scorer from both teams in the opening quarter.
“We only had a week to re-jig, but Kim’s played with us before and I think she did a really great job out there today for us,” Vixens coach, Simone McKinnis, said.
A costly second quarter performance saw the Vixens lose their first bonus point for the match, meaning they had to win the remaining two quarters to remain in the hunt.
The Vixens started the second half slowly, with the Lightning scoring five unanswered goals. A last effort to win the quarter and keep the finals hopes alive reduced the quarter margin to three, but it wasn’t enough to claim the bonus point, knocking the Vixens out of finals contention.
The team was determined to finish the season a high and take the win. They got as close as two goals, but was overran by the Lightning, who took the win by five goals.
A spirited Liz Watson impressed, earning her yet another Nissan Most Valuable Player award. The Wing Attack dominated the goal circle, with 27 goal assists, and was also handy in defence, applying the pressure throughout the centre third.
McKinnis said she was disappointed with the end result, but proud of the spirit the team showed throughout the match.
“Coming in to the game we wanted the win, we wanted the points to get through to finals so it’s the end of a season and that’s always disappointing to finish it shorter than we wanted to,” McKinnis said.
“I think generally there was some great spirit from the game today.
“I think we have to look at the season as w hole and the opportunities that we didn’t take or the opportunities when we didn’t that spirit.”
Celebrate the Melbourne Vixens 2018 season at the Sharelle McMahon Medal on Friday 31 August. Get your tickets now.
Match Report with thanks to Melbourne Vixens