Day 12 of the RuPay Pro Volleyball League saw Calicut Heroes maintain an unbeaten run in the league stage as they defeated Ahmedabad Defenders 4-1 (15-14,11-15,15-11,15-9, 15-8). Skipper Jerome Vinith was the leading scorer for Calicut with 17 points (14 spikes, 1 block and a super serve). Ahmedabad’s highest scorer was Novica Bjelica who scored 8 points (5 spikes and 3 blocks).
It was an interesting start to the match as Ahmedabad nosed ahead with a 5-3 lead owing to two errors from Calicut and three points scored by Novica Bjelica and Victor Sysoev. But Calicut showed why they were table-toppers pulling back things together and taking the lead at 8-6 at the first Technical Time Out (TTO). At 12-10, Calicut looked on their way to win the set but Ahmedabad called for a Super Point and converted on Calicut’s serve to level the equation. The last few points were hard fought and it looked like anyone’s set till 14-14. It was finally a spike by Paul Lotman which won the set for Calicut 15-14.
In the second set, Ahmedabad yet again went into an early lead but as it was the case in the previous set Calicut came back to level it 5-5. Ahmedabad was determined not to fall behind and went into the TTO an 8-6 lead. Calicut called for a Super Point at 6-9 and converted to close the gap to 8-9. Ahmedabad extended the lead even further as they went to 13-10. At 14-10, Ahmedabad had their first set point but could only seal the deal at 15-11 when Vipul Kumar’s spike went out. The match was now level at 1-1.
Winning the second set seemed to have given Ahmedabad the momentum as they led 5-2 displaying good attack and defence. Calicut was in no mood to let Ahmedabad run away with the lead and levelled the score at 7-7. Ahmedabad somehow entered the TTO with a point advantage. After the TTO it was a neck-to-neck battle as no team was able to widen the gap. Ahmedabad called for a Super Point at 10-11 but failed to convert as Lotman’s spike was too hot to handle. Calicut won the set as Ajith Lal closed it 15-11 with an inch perfect spike. Calicut led 2-1 in the match.
As the fan support increased, Calicut raised their game taking an 8-1 lead with Lotman acing a Super Serve at 6-1. Ahmedabad seemed to have lost their way. The conversion of a Super Point by GR Vaishnav also seemed futile as the gap of points was too much to handle. Calicut won the set 15-9 that ensured an unbeaten end to the league stage for Calicut.
The last set wasn’t much of a competition as Calicut won the same by a score line of 15-8 winning their Super Point and acing a Super Serve both converted by skipper Jerome Vinith. Though, Ahmedabad won their Super Point at 6-10 but they never looked like being in the game. Calicut won the match 4-1.
Chennai Spartans will take on U Mumba Volley on February 16th 2019 in the second leg of league in Chennai. It will be broadcast Live and Exclusive on SONY SIX and SONY TEN 3 and will be streamed live on SONY LIV from 6:50 PM IST.
RuPay player of the match: Paul Lotman of Calicut Heroes