The business end of the season has arrived for Volleyball Horsham's winter season with finals underway.
"A" and "B" grades kicked off the finals series on Wednesday night with Murtoa Lizards causing the first upset when they defeated Raptors in a thrilling five setter.
Will Saligari and Laelah Robertson got the ball rolling for Murtoa in the first set serving strongly and opening up a five point break which the Raptors couldn't bridge. Raptors then found their rhythm through Harry Combe and Nathan Sparke and took the second and third sets.
But as they have shown all season, Murtoa fought back hard through Saligari, Robertson and Cleo Baker, on the back of some big hitting and great serving, taking the score from 17-17 to win 25-21 and push the game into a deciding fifth set.
Hannah Whyte and Saligari got the Murtoa team off to a dream start turning 8-2 at the change. But Harry Combe again got Raptors back in the game levelling the score at 12-12 before Murtoa steadied and took the set 15-12.
In the qualifying final Phantoms looked like they were going to cause an upset when they easily accounted for Heidelberg 25-15 in the first set on the back of some great play by Jon Fitzgerald and Paddy Sherry. Heidelberg settled and through Tamikah Dockrill and Tim Popple were able to open up an early lead which Phantoms couldn't bridge.
From then on the Heidelberg team forced Phantoms into error on pass taking out their big-gun attackers in Sherry and Fitzgerald, and won comfortably in four sets, setting up a second semi final showdown with ladder leaders Shados Inala next week.Phantoms live to fight another day as they go to the first semi final against Murtoa Lizards.
In the "B" grade elimination finals Von Steiger Shadows were too strong for Von Steiger Savages while perennial favorites Waterhammers were too good for Murtoa. "C" grade and junior finals get under way on Monday night from 4.30pm with eight finals across the two grades being decided.