Western Phantoms enjoy strong start

WESTERN Phantoms kick-started their Victorian Volleyball League season in the best possible way with four wins at the weekend.

Playing at Horsham Basketball Stadium, the Phantoms premier and reserves men each played Saturday-Sunday double-headers, while the division two men and both women's teams had byes.

The Phantoms dominated premier men's newcomer Victoria University in both matches, winning three sets to zero.

The reserves overcame a slow start in their first match on Saturday to post a 3-1 win, and were in top form on Sunday with a 3-0 victory.

Victoria University is expected to be a strong contender in the premier men's division, but was missing two of its top players who are on overseas contracts.

Phantoms coach David Berry said it was a good first hit-out for both teams.

"It was an ideal way to start the season, especially catching Victoria University at this time of the year because we know they're only going to get stronger," he said.

"That will make it very tough for the rest of the competition as their players come back and we don't have to worry about playing them at full strength."

Berry praised the efforts of Chris Radford, Riley Stone and Brad Mason in Saturday night's win.

"Chris Radford and Riley Stone were sensational - they hardly made an error in attack and their blocking was really good," he said.

"Brad Mason was really good passing and also in attack so those three were really the standouts on Saturday night."

Libero Josh Gordon led the way for the premier Phantoms in their Sunday match, with Ashby Smith also impressive.

Star recruit Paolo Antonio Mecci took time to find his feet, but Berry said he had shown his potential.

"He hasn't played since April last year and he came off a pretty nasty ankle injury, so he's still finding touch," he said.

"There were glimpses there that he's going to be very good and we were pleased with what he did."

The reserves also impressed after a sluggish opening set.

Paddy Sherry and Adrian Fox stood out playing through the middle and Jack Hannan did well on debut.

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