Here’s the wrap up of today’s Semi-Final action from the 21/U National Netball Championships in Adelaide thanks to our match reporters.
SOUTH AUSTRALIA 58 def QUEENSLAND 36
By TAMSIN SCHOLZ
SA proved too strong in the end for a competitive Queensland, with the game played at a blistering pace causing errors on both sides.
The physical style saw collisions throughout the match, including a heavy clash between Queensland’s Madeline McAuliffe and SA’s Maddy Proud.
An intense first two quarters saw SA slowly pull away from the visitors to lead by seven goals at half-time.
Queensland was well served by a change in the goal circle with Claudia Jones going in to goal shooter, but SA capitalised on its tight defence.
Goaler Cody Lange shot at 89 per cent accuracy for the match – including a perfect 11 from 11 in the third quarter.
SA went on to more than double its lead by the last break despite the best efforts of Queensland and the outcome was beyond doubt from then on.
SA Coach Megan Carter said the game was all about momentum.
“Every quarter they just kept building, building, building and then I thought in that last quarter with a couple of change ups we hit some good connections,” she said.
“We only won each quarter by three or four goals but it’s enough to add up to a 22-goal margin.”
SA now has the opportunity to defend its 2013 title and claim the state’s fifth 21/U title in the 21st century.
Carter said the team is looking forward to the challenge.
“This is what we play for; you come to a tournament and you have to take each step, tick the boxes of the minor round games but this is why we’re here – to play in grand finals,” Carter said.
“It doesn’t come around a lot for a lot of people so it’s very exciting.”
The home court advantage is also a nice change for the team with more support in the grand stand.
“It’s very interesting because when you’re away there’s always a band of parents who come with you and they’re always very loud,” Carter said.
“This is just more like a constant hum, so it’s really lovely to do it in front of a home crowd.”
South Australia shooting stats
Cody Lange: 33/37 (89%)
Georgie Virgo 13/16 (81%)
Chelsea Lemke 12/17 (71%)
Queensland shooting stats
Claudia Jones 19/23 (823%)
Lauren Sculley 14/24 (58%)
Jemmason Power 3/5 (60%)
VICTORIA 36 def NEW SOUTH WALES 32
By MALLORY PETERSEN
Several times during the game Victoria threatened to run away with the match, but a resolute NSW refused to lie down, coming back from a five-goal deficit early in the last quarter to trail by just one with five minutes left.
However, Victoria steadied and finished the match off strongly to claim its second win over NSW for the week and give itself another chance of winning the shield.
NSW were in it from the start, matching it with Victoria every step of the way, but skill errors at crucial times of the game proved costly.
NSW’s Madeline Hay and Taylah Davies were outstanding, making powerful leads and bringing down some tricky intercepts, but sadly it wasn’t enough to secure their team victory.
The game was won from the midcourt with Victorian players Melissa Bragg, Madeline Carter and captain Maggie Lind suffocating the NSW opponents with their defensive pressure.
Victorian shooters Mikaela Vaughan and Maddie Hickey made the most of the turnovers this pressure created, scoring some brilliant goals to ensure the win.
Victorian coach Kristy Keppich-Birrell said she was proud of her team’s performance.
“We’re absolutely ecstatic and they’ve been building all week to get to this point,” Keppich-Birrell said.
“They (Victorian players) came out with their trademark defensive pressure today.
“They’ve had 40-plus turnovers every single game and today they actually then scored off them so it’s been brilliant.”
Keppich-Birrell said her team was ready to take on the hosts state in tomorrow’s Grand Final.
“We’ve been preparing for it, we’re ready,” she declared.
“There was only five goals in the last one (match on day 2) and we’ve got better, so I’m really looking forward to that.
“The game is going to be a great physical and mental battle as well, because they’re all really fatigued.
“It’s going to be a really exciting game.”
Victoria shooting stats
Mikaela Vaughan 22/40 (55%)
Maddie Morrison 9/16 (56%)
Maddie Hickey 5/7 (71%)
New South Wales shooting stats
Kristina Brice 30/41 (73%)
Amy Somerville 2/5 (40%)
Laura Cantwell 0/1 (0%)
Pictures: Courtesy of Phillip Steele, Adelaide Sports Photography.