Head Coach Vic Burgess was keen to retain the core of her 2022 squad for the new campaign, noting the need for a blend of experience and youth in order to be successful.
“I am really excited to be working with such a fantastic defensive unit,” she said.
“We have a good balance of experience and youth, all open to learning from each other and push each other on and off the court.”
Alice Harvey has experienced a whirlwind career since stepping up into the Lightning VNSL squad in 2020. Having risen through the ranks in the Lightning academy programme, the Yorkshire born defender had her first VNSL season interrupted by the pandemic before lifting the Superleague trophy in 2021 in Lightning’s historic championship-winning squad.
2022 saw Harvey go from strength to strength as she was rewarded with a full-time contract with the Vitality Roses programme.
The upcoming Uganda International series will see Harvey take to the court for her international debut where she will gain invaluable experience to bring back to her domestic side:
“I am really looking forward to being back another year with Lightning and I am excited to see how we can build on last year,” she commented.
Joining Alice in both England’s international series and in the purple dress next season will be fellow circle defender Fran Williams. No stranger to success, the Netball World Cup bronze medallist celebrated back-to-back VNSL championships with rival side Wasps Netball before joining Lightning in 2021.
She said: “I can’t wait to be back with Lighting for a second season. I love the environment and team here at Loughborough and I am excited to see what we can achieve in the 2023 season.”
Also featuring in the 2022 squad, South African International Zan Vimbela will be back on UK soil for season two. A busy off-season saw Vimbela step out for her national side at the recent Birmingham Commonwealth Games where her side finished 6th. Now looking ahead to the domestic season, Vimbela has her eyes firmly on the prize:
“It’s great to be able to come back to Lightning for a second season. I have learnt a lot; I am ready to contribute and connect with the team again. The VNSL is becoming more competitive and exciting. I can't wait for the challenge and what we bring to the league, we want the title back.”
The final powerhouse in Burgess’ defensive unit comes in the form of fan favourite and Loughborough University student Jas Odeogberin. Featuring in Lightning’s 2021 Championship-winning side, Jas returns to both the university and the Lightning squad in 2023, after completing a placement year in London where she also competed for London Pulse.
Jas shared her excitement at returning to the side: “After completing a placement year in London, I am excited to be heading back to Loughborough and playing for Lightning this upcoming season. I have so many special memories at this club, and I can wait to get back on the court with the girls again.”
With the final four players to be revealed shortly, be sure to keep your eyes peeled on social media over the coming days to find out who else will join Vic Burgess’ star-studded line-up for 2023.
Confirmed 2023 Squad
- Alice Harvey
- Beth Cobden
- Fran Williams
- Hannah Joseph
- Hannah Williams
- Jas Odeogberin
- Nat Panagarry
- Zanele Vimbela