HORSHAM District Football Netball Association’s 17 and under netball team returned from Sunday’s Netball Victoria Association Championships empty-handed, but with plenty of valuable experience.
The team travelled to the State Netball and Hockey Centre to take on the best Victorian associations.
The side made it through to the state finals after finishing runner-up by only two goals at the Northern Zone championships last month.
The district league was one of 12 association sides to qualify for the 17 and under state finals.
Teams were split into two pools of six and played every other team in their pool.
Horsham was beaten in its first four matches before defeating Boroondara Netball Association 13-8 in its final pool game.
Boroondara finished on top of the pool.
Horsham coach Sue Anson said her players had been initially overwhelmed by the experience of playing at such a big tournament, but showed they belonged there in the final match.
“If we had played like we did against Boroondara all day, we would have been right up there with the top teams,” she said.
“They were a bit daunted by it all at the start and the goalies had trouble putting it in the net.”
Anson said the work of Baylee Miller, Taryn Wynd and Emily Langley through the midcourt was good, and Stevie Bibby and Alex Lang gave the team a solid defensive foundation.
With only two members of the team having played at the state finals before, Anson said it was a great learning experience.
“They all played really well and have improved since I started with them,” she said.
“They got to play on court one, which is where the Australian players and the Vixens play, so it was very good for them.”