No drama for Lightning this time in win over Vixens

Justin Chadwick |

The Lightning have inflicted a hard-fought first loss of the Super Netball season on the Vixens.
The Lightning have inflicted a hard-fought first loss of the Super Netball season on the Vixens.

Sunshine Coast have erased the pain of last week’s scoreboard fiasco with a gutsy 64-57 Super Netball victory over the previously-unbeaten Melbourne Vixens at John Cain Arena.

The Lightning entered Saturday’s game still reeling from last week’s controversy, when they thought they had beaten the Giants 71-70 – only for a scoring error to be uncovered after the game.

The corrected score was actually 71-71, and the Lightning ended up losing 86-80 in the extra period.

But there would be no such drama this time around, with the Lightning starting the final quarter with a 7-1 run to secure their second win of the season.

“I’m just really relieved. I really wanted the girls to get that win, just to put last week behind us,” Lightning coach Belinda Reynolds said.

“They had fire in their belly from the get-go, and they started really well tonight.”

Lightning defenders Tara Hinchcliffe and Ashleigh Ervin produced standout displays, helping overcome the absence of star goalkeeper Courtney Bruce.

Liz Watson, a former co-captain at the Vixens, was also influential in her first game against her old club.

Vixens goal shooter Sophie Garbin shot 31-of-33 to go with three-of-seven Super Shots, while Lightning goal shooter Kara Koenen overcome some wobbles to finish with 37-of-46.

Cara Koenen.
Cara Koenen lines up one of her 37 goals in the win over Melbourne. (Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS)

The result improved the Lightning to 2-4, while the Vixens’ first loss of the season dropped them to 5-1.

The Lightning came out all guns blazing early, shooting out to a 5-0 lead in less than four minutes before Vixens coach Simone McKinnis called a tactical time out.

Garbin nailed 12-of-14 in the first quarter and added a Super Shot to her tally as the home side took the ascendancy and headed to the first break with a 19-14 lead.

Koenen was benched during the first period after missing four shots – most of them from close range.

The second quarter had a similar ring to the first, with McKinnis calling another time-out after the Lightning started with a 5-0 run to level the scores.

With Hinchcliffe and Ervin snaring vital intercepts and deflections, the visitors kept up their momentum to head into halftime with a 34-30 lead.

The third quarter was an even arm-wrestle, with Sunshine Coast holding a 48-45 edge at the final break.

But with everything to play for in the last, it was the Lightning who again took control, starting the term with a 7-1 run to secure victory.

The Vixens entered the match without Kate Eddy, who was on crutches and will miss several weeks after copping a knock during last week’s 61-59 win over the NSW Swifts.