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Another Close Call For The Vixens

Vixens win in thriller Credit: Tom Griffiths/The SportingJournal

The Melbourne Vixens have won in another home game thriller, keeping a record crowd of 7,395 on the edge of their seats until the final whistle. West Coast Fever led for the majority of the match until a late comeback from the Vixens saw the home team finish with a one goal lead.

Both teams came out of the blocks firing. The Fever were getting a lot of opportunities courtesy of Chanel Gomes and Ashleigh Brazill and shooters Catherine Cox and Caitlin Bassett were accurately converting these turnovers to goals. The Vixens too, were having no trouble finding intercepts down the court, with Sarah Wall, Geva Mentor and Bianca Chatfield contributing. The Vixens, however, were unable to convert these to goals, and as a result, were down 12 – 8 at the end of the first quarter.

The Vixens made a series of changes at quarter-time, including Karyn Howarth taking the court in Goal Shooter and co-vice captain for the Vixens, Chelsey Tregear, taking the court in Centre.

The Vixens got on a run early in the second quarter, to be down by just 2 points until the Fever hit another gear to extend their lead to 6. The Fever maintained a five goal lead going into half time, with goal shooter, Caitlin Bassett missing only one goal for the first half of the game.

The third quarter saw Vixens goal attack, Ashlee Howard, get her first game of the season. Howard, who has returned to the Vixens after a year at the West Coast Fever, made a huge impact on the Vixens game.

The Vixens started chipping away at the Fever’s 6 goal lead to draw level with 10 minutes left in the quarter. With the support of an energetic and enthusiastic crowd behind the home team, they took the lead for the first time in the match.

With the Vixens on a mini run, the lead quickly drew out to 4 goals by three-quarter-time.

But the Fever weren’t finished yet, with West Coast Fever and former Australian Diamonds coach, Norma Plummer, making changes to their defensive line-up, moving Susan Fuhrmann from the bench, to the Goal Keeper position, with hopes of regaining their lead.

The changes proved valuable, with the Fever quickly drawing level with the Vixens, before taking back the lead again.

The Vixens managed to return to the lead, before the Fever drew level. With less than a minute to go in the match, a match wining intercept by Vixens Captain Bianca Chatfield, saw the team hit the lead with their centre pass to come.

Vixens coach, Julie Hoornweg, said after the match about yet another come from behind win by the team:

“We’re doing this horrible thing of not playing well in the first half and it just can’t keep going.”

“I was pretty disappointed in the attack end today, I thought our shooters didn’t stand up. They weren’t strong enough and weren’t accurate enough in the first half.”

“So we brought on young Ash Howard who hasn’t been on court all year but has been training super well and she did a great job.”

Vixens and English defender, Geva Mentor, said about her feelings in the final seconds of the game:

“I never really doubt it until the final whistle goes and definitely when that last turnover came and went our way, there is a bit of relief looking at the time on the clock.”

“Every game’s a challenge this season and that’s what we love and thrive on.”

The Vixens will now head off to New Zealand for the last two games of the season to verse the Central Pulse and the Southern Steel.

“The girls tell me, oh good, where back on the road, we play well there”, said Hoornweg about playing two games straight on the road.

“This will be a good chance for them to socialise, talk about things, find a new appreciation for each other and those things show on a netball court, when they have this connection and trust among themselves.”

“The positive today is that we’re not playing our best netball and we’re second on the ladder. But we’re up there and we’re not playing our best netball, so just imagine when we get it right, how good we will be.”

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