TIME ran out on Monash University Central's season in the Victorian Netball League championship division preliminary final last Wednesday night.
With the game tied entering the final seconds, VU Western Lighting scored a goal to beat Central 33-32 at the State Netball and Hockey Centre.
Central coach Leesa Maxfield said her players were shattered when the Lightning scored the final goal, leaving too little time for them to equalise.
Click on the image below for our gallery of the big game.
"To lose because there wasn't enough time left was the worst thing," Maxfield said.
"We trailed by a couple goals at three-quarter time but fought back and probably had the better of the court play.
"But we didn't take the opportunities when they were presented to us."
Maxfield praised her side's defensive pressure in the second half which she said made her proud.
Central will rue its inaccuracy as Stacey Northey (23-38 shooting, 61 per cent), Lauren Tscharke (7-11, 64) and Gabrielle Henderson (2-7, 29) all had a tough night in the goal circle.
Maxfield said she expected to again coach the team next season and her players had already started channelling their disappointment into the side's preseason program.
"Those two finals losses have hurt the girls and have made them look towards next year," she said.
Central players Helen Barclay, Georgie Davenport and Kara Richards will play for Victoria Fury in the Australian Netball League starting Saturday.
The trio were selected due to their form during the Victorian Netball League season, with Richards also a part of the Melbourne Vixens squad.
Central players Lil O'Sullivan and Kate Yensch have won places with the Canberra Darters side.
The ANL is used to showcase emerging talent for Trans Tasman series clubs with Vixens and Australian squad member Karyn Howarth earning her place in the Vixens following a most valuable player performance in the ANL last season.
Maxfield said all the players had earned the chance to show their talents and Central's finals loss had at least aided the Darters, who would get the services of O'Sullivan and Yensch for week one of the ANL season.
The two players would have still been with Central if their side had made the grand final.
Central's division 1 side will start as favourites in the VNL division 1 grand final at the SNHC this Saturday night .
Central will play the team they beat in the major semi-final, Booroondara Genesis, on court two at 6pm. The VNL championship grand final will be at 8pm.