Swifts topple Vixens to win finals berth
The Swifts will have to wait to find out until after this weekend’s games who their opponent will be in the Semi Finals [2011 ANZ Championship Finals Series Information].
With the winner of today’s game guaranteed a spot in the finals, it was a nervous start from both teams but the Swifts were able to run away with it in the second half.
NSW Swifts captain Catherine Cox was pleased the team was able to put out a strong performance for the full 60 minutes.
“I’m thrilled, particularly because finishing a game has not been our strong point… If we want to be finals contenders that’s something that we need to get better at, I’m certainly glad we did it tonight,” Cox said.
“We’re still not perfect but that’s the best game we’ve played in terms of putting four quarters together.”
The Vixens defensive pressure was huge in the opening minutes, forcing the Swifts into some turnovers early and making the attacking line work hard for every pass. However it was balanced by the Swifts defence, winning the ball back to keep the Swifts in it, trailing by just one goal at the first break, 9-8.
Melbourne got away by three goals early in the second quarter but the Swifts settled as their attacking line started to flow more freely, closing the deficit to go to the halftime break all even at 19 goals apiece.
With Mo’onia Gerrard’s injection at GD shutting down Vixens GA Tegan Caldwell, the Swifts scored the opening five goals of the third quarter, forcing personnel changes from Melbourne. The Swifts held on in a close, physical quarter to push their lead out to seven goals at the final break, 33-26.
The pressure appeared to get to the Vixens early in the final quarter as the Swifts defenders started picking off passes and with Cath Cox getting on top of the Vixens defenders in the goal circle, the Swifts ran away with it in the final quarter.
With the Queensland Firebirds and First Windows Waikato/Bay of Plenty Magic guaranteed a finals berth, the final spot will go to either the LG Mystics or Melbourne Vixens. The Swifts now have a week to recover before lining up for the Semi Final on either Sunday 8 May or Monday 9 May. For all the 2011 ANZ Championship Finals Series information click here.
Photo courtesy of SMP Images