WNA - Stawell Warriors were defeated by arch rivals Ararat in a thrilling A grade Wimmera Netball Association qualifying final at Minyip Recreation Reserve last Saturday.
Ararat came out fighting in the first quarter, getting the first turnover and taking the early lead.
Stawell had many opportunities to respond, but couldn't capitalise on their turnovers and trailed by a goal at the quarter time break.
In the second term, Warriors couldn't get the ball into the ring, getting just three goals from six scoring shots to Ararat's eight goals from 19 attempts.
"Our defensive pressure and ball use were much better in the second half," Stawell A grade coach, Liza Cook, said.
"We made some positional changes in the third quarter which helped us get back into the game, along with hard work and patience with the ball."
Stawell rallied to get within four goals of Ararat at the final change and even took a one goal lead in the dying minutes of the match.
However basic mistakes and Ararat's persistence wore Stawell down and the Warriors lost out by the barest of margins, 35-36.
"Overall it wasn't a strong first half, but a great team effort in the second half to get ourselves back into the match," Cook said.
Emma Henry defended strongly to be named Stawell's best on court, while Jemma Clarkson provided drive out of the centre.
Liza Cook and Grace Jensz did all the work under the ring, finishing with 18 and 17 goals respectively.
Stawell must now play Horsham RSL Diggers in a cut-throat final on Sunday at Dimboola and Cook is expecting another challenge.
In B grade, a strong third quarter set up Stawell's 45-40 qualifying final win over Nhill.
Stawell was trailing by three goals at half time before a 15 goal to eight third term saw Warriors take a five goal lead at the final change.
Warriors managed to outscore Nhill in the last quarter to secure the win.
Coach Christine Graveson said Kristy Matthews had a brilliant game in defence.
Stawell's Courtney McIlvride was a stand out at wing defence, providing a lot of drive through the mid court.
Stawell now face Horsham tomorrow in the second semi final at Nhill.
Graveson is positive her side can win despite being 0-2 against Horsham this season.
Stawell's C grade netballers have progressed through to this week's second semi final after defeating Horsham Saints 40-15.
It was a great team effort that got Stawell over the line.
Stawell's defensive pressure all down the court caused many Saints turnovers and goalies Amelia Pollock and Laura Farrer rotated well.
Fresh legs in the centre were important with Warriors taking control in the second half, scoring 19 goals to Saints eight.
Amelia Pollock and Carlia Byron were named Stawell's best in the 25 goal win.
Like their B grade counterparts, C grade travel to Nhill tomorrow to tackle Horsham in the second semi final.
Stawell Warriors 15 and under A side's season ended on Sunday after going down to Ararat in the elimination final.
Warriors came back strongly in the final quarter, but basic mistakes resulting in turnovers stopped their momentum and Ararat ran out 32-25 winners.
Darcie Jelly played a consistent game in goal attack to receive best on court while defender Natasha Reading also tried hard for Stawell.
Stawell 13 and under netballers return to play in tomorrow's second semi final against Horsham Saints at Nhill.