LAVINGTON is through to the O and M netball grand final after a nail-biting one-goal win over Wodonga.
The Panthers led at every change and got out to a five-goal lead in the last quarter before the Bulldogs clawed their way back at Bunton Park.
Lavington coach Aleisha Pendergast expected a tough contest and the 39-38 result didn’t disappoint.
“It was intense, defensive netball from the first whistle to the last with both sides giving everything they had in hot conditions,” she said.
“The third quarter was a great contest where defensive pressure forced the errors.
“The ball moved up and down the court for the entire 15 minutes and both sides could manage only six goals each.”
Pendergast said a plan to nullify Wodonga’s 196-centimetre teenage shooter Jane Cook had been a key to the win.
“I could have given a best player award to all nine players — they were all superb,” she said.
“But our shooter, Hayley Penny, was outstanding — I’m not sure of the stats but she hardly missed, while Kate Yensch on Cook was fantastic, too.”
Bulldogs coach Kelli Moylan said the buzzer had gone too early.
“It was a real gutsy effort from our girls and we were on top in that last quarter,” she said.
“Lavi has tall girls all over the court and they were able to limit Cook’s influence for us.
“But we will get better and, hopefully, have another crack at them in two weeks time.
“For us, Liona Edwards was as outstanding as she was last week. Rebecca Cameron and Gemma Grimmond also had great games.”
Meanwhile, Yarrawonga stayed in contention for further premiership glory by recording a 46-33 victory against North Albury in the first semi-final at Corowa’s John Foord Oval yesterday.
Stung by last weekend’s loss to Wodonga, the Pigeons came out blazing and had the match in their grasp after leading 12-2 at the first break.
Bridget Cassar set the tone early while Kaitlyn Cummins starred after coming on during the second quarter.
Abbey Jones was another to shine at goal attack.
North Albury regained its composure after quarter-time with Jordan Farrugia and Chloe Senior instrumental in the Hoppers going goal-for-goal with Yarrawonga from that point.
But the damage was done with the Pigeons earning another shot at Wodonga in Sunday’s preliminary final.