Phan­toms slip in brave ef­fort

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - Sport -

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.

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