MUVJBL U18 Girls VC review: Round 8 – Geelong causes an upset

TOP-END competitors, Knox Raiders slipped from the top of the table in Melbourne United Victorian Junior Championship Division (MUVJBL) Under-18 Girls Championship Division with a 57-57 tie against bottom-end, Geelong Supercats.

The Raiders’ away record took its first non-winning result, sitting at 8-0-1 following the round. In the match-up both teams opened with 25 points in the first term before dipping substantially with an 8-7 second term in favour of Geelong. Geelong extended their lead in the third with a 19-14 term before Knox closed the gap with 11 points (five) in the last. Zoe Jenkins and Rhiannon Ockwell controlled the floor with 16 and 15 points respectively. For Geelong, NBL1 representatives, Carly Remmos and Alishia Knights led on the board with 14 and 13 boards respectively. Remmos’ performance moves to eleventh in the league for points per game (PPG), while Knights sits one below in twelfth.

Nunawading Spectres recorded their second loss in a fortnight after falling to Altona Gators on the road. The Spectres are third on the table but risk missing out on a second-chance for finals as Altona and Dandenong press one win below. The Gators set their sights on the top-four, rebounding well from their 55-40 loss against Geelong in the round prior. In the contest, it was a 21-5 second term that took Nunawading out of the race, despite tying and winning the subsequent terms. Alicia Sciberras tore up the floor with 19 points alongside Kayla Salmons, who recorded 15 for the night. NBL1 representative, Louisa Fakalata led her side with a 19-point performance, but lacked support on the board with Maddison Zugna following next on eight. Fakalata moves to top spot for total points (134) and average points per game (PPG) (19.1) with her dominant performance.

Bulleen Boomers have secured a home final following their win over the Dandenong Rangers on the road. The Boomers moved two wins outside the top two as they pick up their fourth consecutive win, defeating notable sides such as Nunawading and Dandenong in the past fortnight. The Boomers cleaned up in the first half, taking a 39-21 lead into the main break. The Boomers conceded the third (14-7) before finishing 12-14 in the final term. Olivia Tsantarlis led scoring for the Bulleen Boomers with a 16-point performance, followed next by Casey Valenti-Paea with 14. Valenti-Paea moves to sixth on the table for PPG at 14.4 following her performance. NBL1 Representative, Elly Morgan led on the board for Dandenong with 12 points, followed next by Hannah Rapp on nine. Morgan’s performance moves to 17th in the league for PPG.

The Boroondara Sports Complex was treated to one of the games of the round with Southern Peninsula sharks defeating the Hawthorn Magic (61-57) on the road. The result moves Southern Peninsula back into finals contention as they equal their record with Hawthorn in ninth despite placing thirteenth. The loss marks Hawthorn’s fifth consecutive loss, raising questions regarding their validity for finals. In the contest, Hawthorn opened strong at 17-9. They retained dominance in the next two terms (19-18, 17-15) before losing touch in the final term (4-19) to lose by four points. Emirson Devenie dominated at the board for Peninsula with a game-high 25 points, moving to third for PPG on 15.5, while Gemma Simon was next best with 13 points. For Hawthorn, Georgia Gray and Ella Crump were both dominant on 17 and 14 points respectively.

The Bendigo Braves rebounded hard against the Diamond Valley Eagles to pick up a 77-49 victory at home. Their win follows a 45-69 loss against the Southern Peninsula in the round prior, responding well to lock themselves in for finals. Diamond Valley’s away record takes another big hit (2-6-0) as they risk being rubbed out for the finals in the last round. In the match-up, the Braves shut the game down early with a 44-24 opening half, going on to claim a comfortable 28-point victory. Tess Barnes led on the floor for the Braves with 20 points, while NBL representative, Piper Dunlop followed closely with 17. Barnes move into fifth spot on the league-scoring table, one position below Dunlop in fourth. For Diamond Valley, Caitlin Meagher held strong with 15 points, followed by Georgia Kitchell on 11.

In the Reserve Grade, McKinnon lost at home to the Dandenong Rangers, while Kilsyth Cobras held up against Melbourne Tigers and Nunawading Spectres proved better than the Broadmeadows Broncos. The round continued with the Frankston Blues defeating the Keilor Thunder and Pakenham Warriors losing out to Warrandyte Venom.

In the Championship Division next round, Geelong Supercats face Southern Peninsula Sharks, while Knox Raiders host Bulleen Boomers and Hawthorn Magic come up against Diamond Valley Eagles. The round finishes Bendigo Braves hosting Altona Gators and Dandenong Rangers hosting Nunawading Spectres.

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