Blazers triumph in hockey grand final

THE Central Vic Blazers’ metro women’s team was crowned premiers after toppling minor Premiers La Trobe Uni 1-0 in the grand final at Essendon Hockey Centre on Saturday afternoon.

 Despite the low score line, there were plenty of goal scoring opportunities to both teams, but La Trobe Uni had the lion share and its inability to capitalise gave the Blazers the opportunity to win. 

Blazers’ goalkeeper  Hannah Graham was outstanding in the first half as La Trobe Uni piled on the pressure through numerous penalty corners. 

Graham, who opted to stay upright on almost all corners, was rarely troubled and easily kicked away shot after shot in the first half to keep the score 0-0 at half-time. 

Throughout the game Natasha Talec, Brioni Lahn and Evana Miles provided great run through the midfield, which as the game progressed in the second half allowed the Blazers to get on top of La Trobe. 

The decisive moment in the game came with 10 minutes remaining on the clock when the Blazers received a penalty corner. 

A quick push out from Hannah Vibert, allowed Lahn to get her shot off quickly.

However the shot was deflected by the second runner to the left of the goals. Miles was first to the ball and crossed to Vibert, who was able tap the ball in past the La Trobe Uni goalkeeper. 

The Blazers were able to hold out La Trobe for the final minutes despite a late scare when La Trobe Uni was awarded two penalty corners after the siren.

Earlier in the day, at the State Hockey Centre, the Blazers’ state league men’s squad lost the grand final to Baw Baw Bulls HC 5-1.

The victory gave the Bulls  an undefeated season. 

The Blazers started well, but it was Baw Baw who was first to trouble the scorers when it converted a penalty corner midway through the first half. 

Just before half-time an altercation between Blazers’ Joe Munro and Baw Baw’s Steve Pierce left both teams temporarily with 10 players.

In the confusion that followed Baw Baw doubled its advantage after working down the left side of the field. 

Munro returned to the field shortly after half-time and responded almost immediately when he pounced onto a loose ball in the circle and fired home a shot. 

With the score 2-1, the Blazers found themselves in a familiar position as they had come from behind in both their semi and preliminary finals.

Despite goalkeeper Craig Conn having an excellent game, Baw Baw scored three unanswered goals to clinch a comprehensive 5-1 victory. 

While the grand final loss was disappointing for the Blazers, the fact they were there to compete was a great feat. 

“Two weeks before the finals we were a one in four chance to make the finals,’’ coach Lance Scholes said.

“Then we made the grand final from fourth place. That’s really pleasing as it shows the attitude and effort the guys have put in the past five weeks.”

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