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Ama

Ama’s top picks for the play-offs!

Loughborough Lightning and now England Roses captain Ama Agbeze has spoken with Sky Netball about who she thinks will win this year’s Vitality Netball Superleague.

She’s identified her player picks for each side, who she thinks are the surprise package, and ultimately who she thinks will win the title.

You can read Ama’s whole feature on the Sky Sports website, here: http://www.skysports.com/netball/news/12040/10260089/netball-superleague-ama-agbeze-answers-key-questions-about-saturdays-semi-finals

netball-superleague-player-season_3451305

Vote for Sky Sports Vitality Superleague Player of the Season

The shortlist is in for the Sky Sports Vitality Netball Superleague Player of the Season and Sky Netball have whittled it down to five of the league’s shining stars.

Loughborough Lightning’s Ama Agbeze, Manchester Thunder’s Sara Bayman, Team Bath’s Karla Mostert, Surrey Storm’s Sophia Candappa and Hertfordshire Mavericks’ Sammy Wallace are all up for the prize.

You can vote for your Player of the Season on the Sky Sports website here: http://www.skysports.com/netball/news/12415/10248613/vote-for-sky-sports-vitality-superleague-player-of-the-season

Kadeen

Lightning slay the Dragon once again

The Sky Sports cameras were once again treated to a thrilling Vitality Netball Superleague encounter last night as Loughborough Lightning narrowly defeated Deltic Dragons.

The final score was 51-48 to Lightning after Dragons won the final quarter 13-7 to almost push the game to extra time.

You can read the Lightning match report below:

After a hugely exciting final quarter, Lightning’s 48-51 victory was almost stolen by Dragons in the final minutes of the game. Lightning travelled to Cardiff to play Celtic Dragons in a hugely exciting mid-table clash and were put to the test by their hosts.

 The last time Lightning took on Dragons was at home at Loughborough University in the Sir David Wallace Arena, where the ladies won 58 – 53 after a hard-fought game against the visiting side. Lightning are currently seated at the middle of the Vitality Superleague table above Dragons. 

Dragons took the first ball and were quick on the attack, with Lightning defensive players Ama Agbeze and Lauren Massey keen to disrupt their plays. The home side took the first goal, and were three-goals ahead by the time Lightning finally gained possession. Kadeen Corbin put away Lightning’s first goal of the game and, after an interception by Massey, Lauren Nicholls was quick to move the ball back up the court into Peace Proscovia’s safe hands. Before long, Lightning had equalised after a shaky start. At the first five minutes gone, Lightning had taken the lead 4-6 with Dragons close behind.

 Nicholls took a hard-earned interception at the ninth minute of the first quarter and quickly put the ball away to Natalie Panagarry. Seamless interlinking play between the offensive players and fantastic vision by Hannah Joseph secured a goal for the Lightning ladies. As in their previous game, both sides were incredibly physical with multiple obstruction and contact calls being made in the first ten minutes of the game. Proscovia made light work of her opposite player as she ensured Lightning maintained their three-goal lead, with a 9/11 ratio in the first ten minutes. Corbin was a key player in the first quarter and was set to cause even more trouble for the home side.

 Dragons once again took first centre pass as the second quarter kicked off, with Panagarry and Corbin causing real issues for the Dragons’ offensive play as the ball struggled to leave the centre third. As Lightning regained possession, Dragons snatched the ball from Nicholls and put away a goal to close the gap on Lightning’s lead. Lightning were able to retain a two-goal lead over the home side for the first five minutes of the quarter as Dragons’ offensive plays became increasingly dangerous. Lauren Massey was key in preventing a goal by Dragons and the ball was taken away to Nicholls who utilised a long ball give the Lightning offensive players yet another opportunity to score. Corbin was on good form throughout, with agile reactions and providing key support for Proscovia.

With Jo Trip’s unexpected illness keeping her out of the game, Agbeze and Massey worked tirelessly to maintain defence of Lightning’s goal end. With six minutes to go of the first half, Lightning led 20-17 with Dragons merciless in their offensive. Lightning took a five-goal lead in the final three minutes, yet the Dragons offensive grew ever more pressing with Lightning defensive players rising to the challenge. Massey took an injury to the hand and was shortly replaced by Rachel Sweet after some great work in defence. The first half ended with Lightning dominating the scoreboard. 

HT:  Celtic Dragons 24 – 27 Loughborough Lightning

Dragons put away the first goal of the half, and with Lightning having issues with penalties it wasn’t long before Dragons had clawed their way up the scoreboard to a mere goal away from equalising. Lightning made no changes at halftime, with Karen Atkinson showing confidence in her team on the court. Agbeze was quick to capitalise on Dragons missing a shooting opportunity and the ball was shifted up the court to Corbin who put away yet another goal for her side. Joseph once again showed great vision in this half of the game and yet another Nicholls interception was a huge crowd pleaser.

Lightning seemed rejuvenated after halftime and worked tirelessly to once again take a five-goal lead over Dragons with eight minutes to go of the third quarter. Dragons’ goal keeper was given a warning after multiple contact penalties against Proscovia. Panagarry at centre was relentless in exploiting her opposite player’s mistakes and was a standout player in this quarter, providing impressive interlinking play between her offensive and defensive players. With five minutes to go, Lightning were enjoying a seven-goal lead over their host team. The pace of the game intensified as Lightning extended their lead to ten goals, with contact penalties still plaguing both sides.

The fourth quarter began 35 – 44 to Lightning with Dragons once again putting away the first goal of the quarter. The away team were quick to respond with Proscovia having a cracking game at goal shooter with a steady consistency at shooting. Dragons seemed to fire up their intensity in the final quarter as they attempted to close the gap on their visiting side. Agbeze was a standout player in this final quarter, taking multiple interceptions and securing the ball for her side. Lightning made no changes between the third and fourth quarter.

In an exciting final ten minutes, Dragons managed to close the gap and gained seven goals in order to secure a three-goal difference. Another warning was given to Dragons wing attack as the game’s intensity grew, with both sides losing their discipline. Vanessa Walker was brought on for Lightning as Kadeen Corbin was taken off the court with an injury in the later part of the quarter; it was clear from Dragons’ two warnings that the game was fraught with contact and physical plays. The Lightning side seemed agitated with two-goals between the teams in the final five minutes after having enjoyed a comfortable lead the entire game. Every ball the Dragons caught, the home crowd screamed with excitement putting huge pressure on Lightning to perform.

The last three minutes of the game were deafening as the excitement grew, with a point wavering between the two sides, but Lightning were able to silence the home crowd as they took home the victory.

 FT: Celtic Dragons 48 – 51 Loughborough Lightning

 Loughborough Lightning’s next fixture is at home on Monday 28th of March against Hertfordshire Mavericks at the David Wallace Arena. Tickets are still available here: http://loughboroughsport.com/loughborough-lightning/fixturesandresults/

 STARTING 7:

GS – Peace Proscovia

GA – Kadeen Corbin

WA – Hannah Joseph

C – Natalie Panagarry

WD – Lauren Nicholls

GD  – Lauren Massey

GK – Ama Agbeze

SUBS:

Vanessa Walker

Rachel Sweet

Rebecca Airey

Harriett Gill

Tamikah Campbell

Loughborough Lightning's Jade Clarke in action.

Lightning weather the Storm

This weekend’s Round 5 action saw some excitingly close encounters in the Vitality Netball Superleague, and none more so than the clash between Lougborough Lightning and Surrey Storm!

The tense encounter finished with Lightning winning 55-54 in what will almost certainly go down as one of the best games of the season.

For Lightning’s full match report read below:

Loughborough Lightning managed to hold off a challenging Surrey Storm side in an excruciatingly close match, with the final score resting at 55-54 to the home team.

The Lightning side fought hard until the end, with Storm providing a challenge at every step of the way.

Lightning took to the Sir David Wallace Arena in Loughborough University for their mid-table challenge against Surrey Storm. Their last game was a tough battle against Manchester Thunder at home where they were unable to beat the current league leaders.

This week was set to be captain Jade Clarke’s last home game for Loughborough in front of a sold-out crowd.

Lightning entered the court for the first quarter to a huge uproar from home support and were keen to make an impression on the visiting side. Storm took possession off the bat and put away the first goal of the match. Peace Proscovia was quick to reply and put away Lightning’s first goal and proved to make light work of Storm’s goal keeper.

Lightning’s Jo Trip made a fantastic interception after a threatening charge down the court by Storm and Lightning were able to put away more goals as a result. Between Trip and Ama Agbeze at defence, Storm were unable to make much of their possession and the lead by Lightning grew.

At centre, captain Jade Clarke made fantastic interlinking play as the defensive players earned the ball, with Hannah Joseph and Lauren Nicholls maintaining the pace of the ball up the court. Despite Lightning’s strong start, it was not long before Storm closed the gap and soon there was only a one-point lead by the home side.

Nicholls was a standout player in the first quarter, mounting pressure on her opposite player and creating problems for the Storm offensive plays. Five minutes to go until half time and the scoreline stood at Lightning 9 – 8 Storm. Storm had soon warmed up and their offensive pressure on Lightning grew as the first quarter came to a close.

Lightning led into the beginning of the second quarter at 14 – 13, with both sides looking to pin the other down. Proscovia was resolute in her confidence at goal shooter, with Loughborough University Student Vanessa Walker providing key support play as well as putting a goal away herself.

Fantastic interplay between Clarke and Walker ensured Lightning headed comfortably into a four-point lead over Storm in the first five minutes of the second quarter which lasted for the majority of the quarter.

Keen defensive work from the Lightning girls prevented Storm capitalising with possession, and interlinking play from the centre court girls ensured Lightning had ample opportunities for goals.

HT: LOUGHBOROUGH LIGHTNING 30 – 27 SURREY STORM

Lightning began the third quarter on the offensive and Proscovia put away the first goal of the half, with Storm responding straight away with their own goal. Hannah Joseph’s performance stepped up after the halftime break, providing fast-paced interlink plays for Walker and Proscovia.

Nicholls also stepped up the to try and contain the seemingly rejuvenated Storm offensive. Storm were able to close the gap on Lightning and soon the home team were back to a one-point lead over the visiting side.

Previous Player of the Match Jo Trip was put under huge pressure from the Storm goal shooter but managed to intercept the ball once again in the seventh minute of the third quarter. Kadeen Corbin made her return to the court, providing Lightning’s offensive plays with aggression.

Storm upped the physicality in the last five minutes of the third quarter, with both sides seemingly losing composure. Captain Clarke maintained her team’s discipline and soon the focus was back on to improving Lightning’s lead.

Once again, the home team had an advantage with a four-point lead. In the last two minutes of the quarter, Storm chipped away at Lightning and managed to close the gap by a few goals.

Storm began the fourth quarter with a huge charge on Lightning’s defensive side. Natalie Panagarry was put in for Hannah Joseph at wing attack and brought energy to the side. Within the first two minutes of the fourth quarter, Storm managed to take the lead at 42 – 43, but was quickly put to an end by Lightning’s Proscovia after fantastic work by Clarke and Corbin.

With ten minutes to go, the scoreline was evened out at 46-46. The Loughborough crowd grew louder with every goal put away by Proscovia. Storm’s goal shooter was given a warning after a fantastic interception by Agbeze, which only heightened the agitated home crowd’s excitement.

Corbin’s return to Lightning proved an invaluable asset as she had some fantastic play in the last five minutes of the half. The last few minutes of the game were nail biting for the home crowd as the roar of noise grew, with the scoreline wavering on one point between them. A superb interception by Agbeze stole the possession back from Storm and ensured Lightning’s victory.

FT: LOUGHBOROUGH LIGHTNING 55 – 54 SURREY STORM

Player of the Match, Ama Agbeze, had this to say about the match:

“I think we were up by five and then suddenly I looked at the score board and we were very close and I was like “how did this happen? How do we get back into the game?”. I’m pleased that we’ve won, but we need to learn how to (if we’re up by five) take a comfortable lead and keep on pushing on. So, stressful but pleased!”

Head coach Karen Atkinson also commented:

“Oh my goodness, we like to make it difficult for ourselves! Although, Surrey Storm are such a quality outfit. They’ve got experience all through the court. It was a bit frustrating that we would go ahead by five goals and not be able to push on, but I suppose that shows the quality of their side and that they weren’t going to give in. Massively proud that we managed to grind that out right at the end.”

On Monday, the Lightning team face Team Northumbria, away. Our next home match is against Yorkshire Jets on Saturday 12th of March. Tickets are available here: http://loughboroughsport.com/loughborough-lightning/fixturesandresults/

Starting Seven:
GK – Jo Trip
GD – Ama Agbeze
WD – Lauren Nicholls
C – Jade Clarke ©
WA – Hannah Joseph
GA – Vanessa Walker
GS – Peace Proscovia

Substitutes:
Kadeen Corbin
Harriet Gill
Lauren Massey
Natalie Panagarry