Western Phantoms eye three trophies

WESTERN Phantoms Volleyball Club has its sights set on snaring three Volleyball Victoria state league competition premierships tomorrow.

The club's three teams men's reserves, men's division two and women's division two have all qualified for grand finals in their respective grades.

Club secretary David Berry said it was an exciting time for the newly-formed club.

"Everyone is excited," he said. "You can sense the excitement building."

The club incorporates players from Horsham, Sunraysia and Bendigo areas.

It fought hard to enter the league, with many Melbourne-based clubs opposed to a country-based team joining the competition.

The Phantoms entered one team last season and scooped all before it, winning the men's division two championship without dropping a match.

This season the club expanded, entering three teams.

Berry admitted not even they expected all three teams to be premiership contenders.

"Our struggle to get in the league has been well-documented," he said.

"To be in the position we are in now, it is unbelievable."

He said the club had become the envy of many in the league, with the club's culture and development earning praise from rivals.

"The amount of support we are getting is a great endorsement of what we are doing," he said. "It's quite flattering."

The Phantoms and Monash University are the only clubs with three teams competing in the grand finals.

Berry is hoping the Phantoms can also claim the coveted Tomas Santamaria Shield tomorrow, awarded to the most successful club.

"To be in the position to win that in just our second year, it is mind-blowing," he said.

"Heidelberg, which is like the Collingwood of the volleyball competition, currently holds the shield.

"It would mean a lot if we can get it."

The flow on effect of the Phantoms' success has seen record numbers enter the Volleyball Horsham mid-week domestic competition.

It is a big weekend for Volleyball Horsham, with five teams also entered in Sunday's Bendigo Junior Tournament.

David Berry said 32 players would compete, with a strong contingent of parents also attending.

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