WEDNESDAY proved to be a massive night for the South Coast Blaze, with both their women's team recording Netball NSW Premier League victories.
In particular, the under 23s side, coached by Regan Tweddle, won their semi-final to progress to the franchise's first-ever decider.
In that fixture, the Blaze had an extremely strong first quarter, taking an early lead against North Shore United, thanks to its decisive defence and dynamic attack.
Vice-captain and goal-defence Jessica Bowden came out firing and had a handful of great tips and intercepts, hyping up the team.
Goal-keeper Aimee Landrigan also took a couple of solid rebounds and the team's tight centre-court defence forced numerous United errors and a held ball.
The Blaze's well-oiled attacking end, including shooters, Ky-Mani Schwenke and vice-captain Emily Dunn, and centre-court, captain Clare McCrohon and Abbey Baker capitalised on every turnover, with the quarter ending 19-8.
In the second quarter, the Blaze team remained the same.
The South Coast side continued to build on the score, with a couple of United unforced errors and Blaze intercepts helping push the score out to 15 (35-20) at the half.
United fought back in the third quarter, as both teams missed goals - with possession see-sawing and fatigue setting in.
Blaze coach Tweddle took the opportunity to bring on fresh legs, with Sharnee Behr coming on at wing-defence and Bronnee Loy subbing into wing-attack to steady the game, as they extended their lead by one to 49-33.
By the fourth quarter, it was all over for United.
The Blaze began with its starting seven who continued to chip away at the score.
This allowed all of the Blaze's bench to get on-court with Mia Evans coming on at goal-shooter, Kiah Yealland subbing in at centre and Chloe Burden becoming the goal-keeper.
In the end, the scoreline blew out to 65-40.
It was a decisive win by the U23s team in their inaugural season and they've now turned their attentions to next Tuesday's decider against UTS Randwick Sparks - who the Blaze narrowly lost to 48-45 to in round eight.
While the open's Blaze side, buoyed by the return from injury of skipper Taylah Davies, battled the GWS Fury for seventh spot on the ladder.
The Blaze began with a fierce determination, as goal-keeper Peti Talanoa turned over two balls in defence, giving South Coast a five-goal head start before the Fury could get on the board.
Goal-defence Kristen Chadrawy also bagged an intercept in the goal circle, with Fury starting to force the ball into the attacking end and missing passes.
Fast, well-placed passes into the circle from wing-attack Taylah Davies and centre Katelyn Begley to goal-shooter Kristina Brice and goal-attack Abbey McFadden saw Blaze finish the first quarter with a strong 11 goal lead 21-10.
In the second quarter, Blaze went goal for goal with Fury during the opening exchanges.
However, a few missed goals for the Blaze allowed Fury to peg back the score.
With a few minutes to go, Annalise Chadrawy entered at goal-defence and Shelby Mallon came on at goal-attack to change up the combinations and compose the team - as they went into the break up 34-27.
Again the Blaze kept Fury at bay in the first five minutes of the third quarter, pushing the score out to 10 at one point.
But some poor passes in and around the Blaze circle started to creep in.
The attacking end struggled to find a way forward, despite a change in the shooting combination, with Brittany Berry subbing in at goal-shooter and Abbey McFadden returning at goal-attack.
This helped Fury to bring Blaze's lead back to five, with the score 48-43 at three-quarter-time.
The fourth quarter saw Fury bring the Blaze's lead to within two goals, capitalising on bad passes and positioning in the Blaze attacking end.
With the return of Kristina Brice at goal-shooter, who joined vice-captain and starting goal-attack Abbey McFadden, the Blaze stabilised and managed to hold on.
The final score was 61-55, cementing a seventh placed finish for the South Coast Blaze open's team.
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