Western Phantoms reserves men fall short in semi-final

DEVASTATED: Western Phantoms reserves men's team captain Tim Popple says the team will benefit from its finals loss. Picture: PAUL CARRACHER

DEVASTATED: Western Phantoms reserves men's team captain Tim Popple says the team will benefit from its finals loss. Picture: PAUL CARRACHER

THE Western Phantoms reserves men's team's season has come to an end after a semi-final loss to Southern Cross Cobras on Saturday.

The Phantoms were knocked out in heart-breaking fashion after winning the first two sets and coming close to winning the fourth.

The Cobras won 3-2 in five sets 22-25, 20-25, 25-16, 25-23, 15-8 at the State Volleyball Centre in Dandenong North.

Phantoms captain Tim Popple said his side had its opportunities to win.

"We're a bit disappointed we probably should have had it," he said.

"We were pretty fired up to start with and got off to a really good start and the second set was hard-fought and we scraped through.

"It was a really good effort, but they played really well at the end."

It was the Phantoms' third consecutive finals appearance in the reserves men division.

Popple said it was a beneficial experience for the side which has a number of younger players moving forward.

"We would have liked to have gone a lot deeper into finals, but at the end of the day it's been a pretty successful season," he said.

"It hurts to lose.

"You can't teach finals experience, so it's good for them and they'll be better for it."

The Phantoms skipper said experienced players Ashby Smith and Ben Hassell were the two stand-out performers.

The Cobras will face Mornington in a preliminary final, with the winner to face Monash University in the grand final

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