Phantoms slip in brave effort
Abrave effort wasn’t enough to get the volleyball win Phantoms girls were craving in a state league reserves preliminary final at the weekend.
Playing against the darlings of Victorian volleyball, the Bluebelles, the girls came up short, losing in four sets to make a straight-sets exit from the finals after finishing with the double chance.
The girls went neck-and-neck with their opponents for most of the first set, dropping four successive points mid-set to eventually go down 20-25.
The second set was much the same with the Bluebelles attacking strongly through Joanne Lawson on the back of clever setting from Maree Lyne.
The Phantoms girls threw everything at their opponents, who managed to control more balls in defence compared with the Phantoms.
The third set was looking ominous when the Phantoms trailed early. But a change in setting and a bit of luck finally came the girls’ way as they began to get the blocks they were looking for and stormed ahead, eventually winning the set 25-20 and taking the match into a fourth set.
Keely Knight got the Phantoms girls off to a dream start and the team was leading 10-3, before the Bluebelles changed their attack strategy, which caught the Phantoms’ defence on the back foot.
The Phantoms girls were first to 20 again but couldn’t get the winner they were looking for, eventually going down 23-25.
The season didn’t pan out the way the team expected after a solid showing mid-season when they won six games in a row.
The Bluebelles were the bogey team for the Phantoms girls, going down twice in the regular season and unable to get over them in the pressure-cooker atmosphere of finals.
Horsham girls to represent Phantoms in reserves women in 2017 were Jess Radford, Eadie Garth-lindsay and Kara Johnson. With an average age of 19 across the 10 players used in the final, the future looks bright for the girls.
With pressure from Volleyball Victoria to even up club numbers in the premier women’s competition, the likely scenario for 2018 is that these girls will form the nucleus of a premier women’s team. This will be the first team from the club to play in the top competition in the state.
There are certainly exciting times ahead despite not achieving the ultimate prize in season 2017.