Lightning to host Super Netball decider after edging Vixens
NETBALL: The Sunshine Coast Lightning will host the Super Netball decider after claiming a thrilling one-goal win over Melbourne in the major semi-final on Saturday.
After finishing the regular season in second place the Lightning upset the minor premier Vixens 56-55 after an exciting encounter at Margaret Court Arena in Victoria.
In doing so, it earned a berth in the big dance, to be held at Brisbane Entertainment Centre on June 17.
It was an imposing display from the Lightning on Saturday, when goal shooter Caitlin Bassett bagged 44 goals from 47 attempts and goal attack Stephanie Wood chimed in with 12 goals from 14 attempts.
A workaholic midcourt featuring Laura Scherian, Laura Langman and Kelsey Browne provided plenty of impetus while the defensive unit of Geva Mentor and Karla Mostert kept Vixens goal scorers Mwai Kumwenda (33 of 38) and Tegan Philip (22 of 26) relatively quiet.
Scores were locked at 13-apiece after the first quarter but the Vixens snatched a 26-25 advantage at the main break.
The host forged to a four-goal lead during the third term and led 42-40 at three-quarter time.
But the Lightning rallied in the final quarter under pressure to earn a four-goal lead of its own.
A late Vixens fightback just fell short.
It's been a highly-impressive effort by the Lightning in its first ever campaign, dropping just two games in 15 outings under the guidance of respected coach Noeline Taurua.
The Lightning will meet the winner of the preliminary final, which will be contested in Melbourne next weekend between the Vixens and the Giants.