The Sunshine Coast Lightning ascended to the top of the Suncorp Super Netball ladder after fighting back from eight goals down to claim a last-second victory over the Melbourne Vixens on Sunday.
While both teams came out firing, playing clean netball with very few errors, it was the Vixens who broke away midway through the first quarter and took a five-goal lead.
Lightning coach Noeline Taurua called for a time-out to break the Vixens’ momentum but the breather did little to help the Lightning though and Taurua was forced to make a change late in the quarter, introducing Ugandan shooter Peace Proscovia.
The introduction of Proscovia saw the starting goal shooter Cara Koenen moving into goal attack for Steph Wood who was withdrawn.
The Vixens first quarter dominance saw them claim the first bonus point of the game and took a six-goal lead (17-11) into the first break.
Vixens quickly capitalised on Lightning’s errors in the second quarter and stretched their lead to eight goals. However, the Lightning managed to settle late in the period and with a last-second goal from Proscovia, the Lightning evened the score for the quarter at 14 apiece but Vixens held their six-goal lead at the halftime break.
At the start of the third quarter, Taurua again changed up the goal circle, bringing Wood back on for Koenen in goal attack but the Vixens kept up their tight defensive pressure and took the lead out to eight early in the frame.
However, the Lightning responded well and chipped away, bringing the margin back into four goals halfway through the third. The side earned the first bonus point of the game as they claimed the quarter by two goals and trailed the Vixens by four goals heading to the fourth quarter.
Phumza Maweni and Karla Pretorius made two intercepts at the start of the fourth quarter and the Lightning scored on both intercepts, as well as their two centre passes, and they brought the scores back to level within three minutes.
The Vixens got back onto the lead for most of the quarter, but the Lightning fought back and hit the lead for the first time with five minutes to play.
From that point, it was a battle for the lead at the final whistle and it was the Lightning who managed win with Wood scoring a last-second penalty shot to claim the game by one goal.
Thee win took Lightning to 74 points, two ahead of second-placed New South Wales Swifts after 13 rounds.