Loughborough Lightning are slipping away from the top four places in the Vitality Netball Superleague after a closely-fought loss in Surrey on Saturday.
The fixture was nip and tuck the whole way through until Storm ran away with a 10-goal lead in the final quarter.
Read the Lightning report below:
Lightning were unable to take home the victory as Surrey Storm win 52 – 42 after a sensationally close game.
Storm played host to the Lightning girls as they travelled to Surrey. Lightning’s last game against the hosting side was an incredible display of grit and determination where they beat Storm 55-54 in a last minute victory at Loughborough University’s Sir David Wallace Arena.
Lightning took first centre pass, with Storm intercepting almost immediately and claiming the first goal of the game. Captain Ama Agbeze worked hard in the shooting circle to disrupt Storm’s offensive plays, yet the host team would be two-goals up by the time Lightning scored their first. Peace Proscovia easily put away another goal for Lightning and GA Vanessa Walker also scored a goal for Lightning in the first few minutes. Storm managed to keep the scoreline equal as the two sides battled for the lead as the first quarter whizzed by.
End-to-end performances by both sides meant the scoreline remained equal for the beginning of the game, but soon Storm would take a two-goal lead over Lightning with ambition to extend it. Storm’s defensive players were able to turnover the ball, but Hannah Joseph was quick to return it to Lightning hands and put away a goal. Storm would soon take control of the game leading 10-7, but with Joseph causing carnage in the centre third and Proscovia and Walker performing well in the shooting circle it was difficult for Storm to maintain it.
The second quarter began 12-10 to Storm, with the game set to see more end-to-end action. Walker would take the first goal of the quarter, with Storm quick to respond with their own; Walker was a standout player in the second quarter, putting Lightning’s possession to good use as she equalised the scoreline early on at 13-13. Jo Trip and Agbeze put huge pressure on their opposite players and managed to turnover the ball, allowing Lightning to score and regain the lead. Lightning seemed to come alive in the second quarter, taking their lead up to 14-17 with no signs of slowing down. Walker and Proscovia were on point in the shooting circle, Joseph, Natalie Panagarry and Lauren Nicholls dominating the centre third and Trip and Agbeze causing trouble for Storm’s offensive plays.
Both sides worked tirelessly, racking up goals after goals from each end as the action zipped up and down the court. Lightning found themselves a two-to-three-goal lead for much of the second quarter, but soon Storm managed to claw back up the scoreline and equalise at 19 all. Joseph’s performance was crucial in this quarter as the physicality of the game intensified, with Storm taking their own lead at 22-20. Panagarry and Proscovia enjoyed fantastic chemistry as Lightning worked to equalise.
Loughborough Lightning 23 – 24 Surrey Storm
Kadeen Corbin was put on the court in place of Walker at GA over halftime, with coach Karen Atkinson keen to inject some energy into their offensive plays. Agbeze earned an interception in the first few seconds of the quarter and Proscovia would put away Lightning’s first goal of the half, with Storm still leading at 26-24. Storm soon began to run away with the lead with a three-goal difference over the visiting side. Corbin scored her first of the game in the first five minutes of the half, and two more immediately afterwards from her kept the scoreline close at 31-28.
Nicholls was taken off the court halfway through the third quarter, with Lauren Massey coming on to replace her at WD. Storm were well away with the lead at 35-30 as Lightning’s defensive efforts struggled to compete. Lightning’s offensive players upped their game, managing to scrape two goals back, and Panagarry’s work at centre paid off for the Lightning girls as Prosocovia was able to bring the scoreline back up to a one-goal difference. Trip made a crucial interception in the final seconds of the third quarter preventing Storm from scoring.
With an exciting end to the third quarter, the fourth quarter was set to be a huge performance by both sides. No changes came for Lightning at the start of the final fifteen minutes of the game. Storm opened the quarter with two goals, setting themselves ahead at 37-34. Corbin utilised a longball to Proscovia which secured a goal for Lightning with the fast pace of the game clear from the first few minutes of the quarter. Lightning dug deep to keep themselves close to Storm, but the home team took the lead at 41-36 with both teams making frustrating mistakes.
Proscovia took a knock to the knee and was replaced by Walker who went on at GA, with Corbin taking over at GS. Storm’s quick play meant that their possession was capitalised quickly, putting away goal after goal ahead of Lightning. Storm soon enjoyed a six-goal lead over Lightning for the majority of the quarter, and with several contact penalties called against Lightning defensive players it was soon extended to nine goals. Walker would score the last goal of the game as Storm took the victory after a hard fought final quarter.
Loughborough Lightning 42 – 52 Surrey Storm
GK – Jo Trip
GD – Ama Agbeze ©
WD – Lauren Nicholls
C – Natalie Panagarry
WA – Hannah Joseph
GA – Vanessa Walker
GS – Peace Proscovia