#nsl2024 Rhinos 56-64 Lightning

Lightning win against Rhinos at First Direct Arena

This week it was another win for Loughborough Lightning during their away game at the First Direct Arena against home side Leeds Rhinos. With 3,700 attendees watching the game, the round eleven action did not disappoint.

Lightning came out strong from the start, with both Rhea Dixon and Mary Cholhok working well to maintain a steady stream of goals. The continued determination of captain Nat Panagarry within the centre third, saw her gain possession for her team though a promising tip-off, sending the ball back down the court towards Lightning’s goal.

Elsewhere, a skilful mid-court interception from Beth Cobden helped to push Lightning forwards as the final few minutes of the first quarter played out, placing the away team in an advantageous position.

The second quarter opened up with some fast paced, tactical decisions from Lightning as they looked to optimise their space on court. Hoping to enhance their attacking opportunities, some well-placed feeds from Panagarry allowed Cholhok to push forwards Lightning’s score.

As the half-time mark rolled around, both Alice Harvey and Nicola Smith worked steadily to turnover Rhino’s rebounds and place pressure on their attack, disrupting the home side’s well-paced flow.

Half-time: Loughborough Lightning 33 – 21 Leeds Rhinos

As the game progressed, some great teamwork around Lightning’s circle edge provided Cholhok multiple shots at goal, despite the evenly matched work of Rhino’s defence, namely the work of goalkeeper and captain Geva Mentor.

The talented Annabel Roddy came on at goal defence for Nicola Smith, making a rapid interception seconds after stepping onto court. Yet, it was clear Rhino’s weren’t going down without a fight, as they looked to close the apparent goal difference. Trailing behind Lightning, the support from home fans spurred on the Leeds side, with only five goals between each team as the third quarter drew to a close.

Third quarter: Loughborough Lightning 47 – 42 Leeds Rhinos

The final quarter was a tense battle for the win, with both teams elevating their play in order to keep them in the running. Rising to the challenge of maintaining Lightning’s dominance, Alice Harvey displayed some amazing defensive work, pulling off back-to-back interceptions, working relentlessly to gain as much possession for her team as possible.

As both teams moved into the final few minutes of the last quarter, it was still all to play for. Yet, as the final whistle blew it was Lightning that took the win, maintaining their current winning streak, and asserting their position at the top of the table.

Another triumphant performance from Lightning, away from home, Lightning head coach Vic Burgess commented on the team’s win…

“We were extremely clinical with our attack, as well as driving our defence which is something that we have been looking at”.

Yet, she also stated that there was a lot of work to be done, especially with their next game being a top of the table clash against evenly matched side, Manchester Thunder…

“For us, we just aren’t happy with how we played during the third quarter. Our consistency in attack, ability to look after the ball and actually being smart on the ball when the pressure is on, is something that we will be looking at”.

It was Rhino’s player Amelia Hall that was awarded this week’s Kissimmee player of the match for her continued work during the critical, mid-point of the game.

Starting line-up:  
GS: Mary Cholhok  
GA: Rhea Dixon
WA: Hannah Joseph  
C: Nat Panagarry  
WD: Beth Cobden 
GD: Nicola Smith 
GK: Alice Harvey 

Match Report: Lightning
IMG: Ben Lumley

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