18 June 2017
The University of the Sunshine Coast has congratulated its champion netball team, Sunshine Coast Lightning, on a resounding victory in the inaugural Suncorp Super Netball grand final last night (Saturday 17 June).
Lightning ran out winners 65-48 over Sydney-based Giants before a crowd of 9,000 spectators at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre in a televised match that was viewed by millions across Australia.
At the start of her victory speech, Lightning captain Geva Mentor made special mention of the team’s joint owners.
“To our owners, Melbourne Storm and the University of the Sunshine Coast, thank you so much for having faith in us,” the star Goal Keeper said.
“To think that we didn’t even exist this time last year. All credit to what you’ve managed to create.”
Lightning was formed in late 2016, after Melbourne Storm and USC were successful bidders for one of three new clubs in a revamped national netball competition.
The team is based at USC, which significantly expanded its sports stadium this year to provide a world-class venue for netball that can accommodate crowds of more than 2,000.
USC Vice-Chancellor Professor Greg Hill said it was thrilling to watch Lightning – the Sunshine Coast’s first national sporting team – win the national championship in its first season.
“My congratulations to the players on their outstanding performance in the grand final and throughout the season, and to their wonderful coach Noeline Taurua and her support staff,” he said.
Professor Hill said USC’s involvement with Lightning was part of the University’s new emphasis on high-performance sport, which was paying dividends for USC, student athletes and the Sunshine Coast community.
In fact, Lightning’s first two signings – Goal Shooter Caitlin Bassett and Wing Attack Kelsey Browne – are both now studying degrees at USC.
Sunshine Coast Lightning will stage a “Welcome Home Celebration” at 11.20am at the Kings Beach Amphitheatre at Caloundra today (Sunday 18 June).
— Terry Walsh