Kochi (Kerala): Calicut Heroes registered a thrilling 3-2 win against U Mumba Volley here at the Rajiv Gandhi indoor stadium on Tuesday.
For Calicut, it was yet again Ajith Lal C who played the lead role with 16 points (15 spikes, 1 block) whereas for U Mumba Volley, it was skipper Dipesh Kumar Sinha who stood out with 11 points (7 spikes, 3 blocks and 1 serve).
After winning the toss, U Mumba Volley decided to serve and got two quick points. Calicut picked up the pace soon with two back-to-back spikes from Lal. At the Technical Time Out (TTO), Calicut led U Mumba by just one point at 8-7.
At 11-8, Calicut called for a Super Point and a beautifully executed deception ending with a spike from Lal got them the bonus point. U Mumba made a two-point recovery to 10-14, owing to errors by Iluoni Ngampourou and Jerome Vinith, but a spike from Calicut skipper Vinith closed the set in their favour at 15-10.
Both the teams started cautiously in the second, countering each other’s moves and earning on a few unforced errors. At 4-4, Lal came up with a blistering spike to break the parity followed by a mistake by Nick Del Bianco as Calicut got a two-point lead. At 5-6, U Mumba called for a Super Point that they won with an inch-perfect block by Saqlain Tariq to give his team a 7-6 lead.
Riding on the new lease of energy they won six consecutive points stretching the lead to 12-6. Calicut tried to close the gap climbing up to 12-14 but U Mumba settled the matter with a Tomislav Coskovic spike at 15-12.
With a set apiece, the match became a battle of equals. At 6-6, U Mumba took the initiative two consecutive spikes Saqlain Tariq and Del Bianco heading into the TTO at 8-6. At 7-8, U Mumba called for a Super Point but a rock-solid block at the net by Karthik A won Calicut the point and lead at 9-8. U Mumba made a comeback with a spike and serve from Prince to take a one-point lead at 10-9.
As the tension built, Coskovic error put U Mumba behind. Calicut had a set point at 14-12 but U Mumba skipper Sinha got his team a point to make it 13-14 but Lal continued his red-hot form to give Calicut a 2-1 lead after three sets.
Leading 7-3 in 4th, Calicut committed a handful of errors allowing U Mumba to crawl back in the set. To press an advantage, Calicut called for a Super Point at 9-8, but U Mumba skipper Sinha came with an impressive block to take his team to 10-9.
At 10-all U Mumba called for a Super Point and won it with a spike from Shubham that beat a three-men block which was followed by Coskovic’s spike to make it 13-10. Of the next five points, Calicut won four with U Mumba taking just one. At 14-14, Calicut needed one point to win the match while U Mumba needed one to stay alive and got it to take the match to a decider.
The decider saw both the teams level at 6-6. Calicut called for a Super Point at 7-6 and converted with Vinith’s spike. Karthik then aced a Super Serve to increase the lead to 11-6 for Calicut. The six-point lead was too steep for U Mumba as the set ended with a service error from Pankaj Sharma at 15-9 and the match 3-2 in favour of Calicut Heroes.