FAST-finishing Merrivale overpowered Panmure yesterday to complete an impressive 37-34 victory.
Going into the last quarter on their home court the Tigers were up against it as they trailed the second-placed Bulldogs 28-24.
As one of four teams jostling for the last two places in the top five, the Tigers needed to find something special or drop the game and fall off the pace.
It was an inspired Merrivale that dominated the last quarter scoring 13 goals to six to finish the game full of running and with fourth position still in its keeping.
Merrivale coach Tania Ross said she never lost faith in her teams ability to get the win despite needing a last quarter rally to do so.
“It was a really even game all the way through and we were still confident going into the last quarter,” Ross said.
“We focused on our defensive pressure. We knew we had to force them into some errors and get some turnovers to get past them and build our own lead.”
Ross was among her team’s best performers in her role as goal keeper, while centre player Elisha Carter was also a star.
For the Bulldogs, goal attack Jorgia Brown and centre Natalie Meade were named as their best.
Deakin University has kept its finals hopes alive with a comprehensive 63-32 win over South Rovers.
After an even first half, the Sharks led by just two goals at half-time before slipping into top gear and outscoring the Lions 31-12 in the last two quarters.
Melissa Burt was in brilliant form for the Sharks shooting 40 goals in a best-on-court performance, while goal shooter Megan Whelan was the best for the Lions.
The closest game of the round was at Timboon where the Demons had a 33-32 win over Russells Creek.
Defenders Cloe Marr and Tess Lindquist were the stars for the Demons while wing defence Nikole Sullivan was the best player for the Kangaroos.
Allansford’s season remains a going concern with the Cats just a game outside the top five after a 51-30 win over Nirranda.
And top-of-the-ladder Old Collegians made short work of East Warrnambool as they defeated the Bombers 61-24 with Sophie Ballinger the best player on court.