Paul Lotman had rightly pointed out how his team applies service pressure on the opponents after Kochi Blue Spikers’ demolition in the last match.
The Calicut Heroes was at it again on Sunday, thrashing Black Hawks Hyderabad to register its fourth straight victory in the six-team Pro Volleyball League (PVL) at the Rajiv Gandhi indoor stadium. The triumph also confirmed its place in the semifinal. Playing on consecutive days may be a problem for other teams but not for the Calicut Heroes.
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While captain Jerome Vinith was impressive in the previous game, it was attacker C. Ajithlal who was outstanding yesterday. He was especially effective in the opening set, where he created three super points. One of those came with an ace service while the other two came from smashes later.
With the teams locked at 8 and 10, it was Ajithlal’s supershow that helped Heroes win the first set. Setter Vipul Kumar was cognizant of Ajith’s form and he smartly diverted plenty of lifts towards him.
Super Second Set
Heroes took chances after chances and rewards thus followed. It rarely happens that a team attempts for a super point after having a lead 10-8. It is simply too risky.
But the Heroes did exactly the same thing in the second set and the gamble paid off. It was Jerome came up with a thumping smash from right, leaving the Hawks’ backcourt visibly shaken. That play was to take the second set away from the Black Hawks.
The Heroes was also strong with its block. It was aided by Congo’s tall Illini Ngam Pourou, Olympian Paul and A. Karthik kept the Hawks’ dangerman Ashwal Rai at bay. Moreover, the trio’s serves wreaked havoc with their opponents’ first passes.
While the skipper was the star of the second set, the third was an equally fought affair. The Hawks showed great courage to draw level at seven.
But then, Naveen Kumar’s super serves along with Ajithlal’s super point ensured that Heroes went ahead of their rivals. They eventually grabbed a 3-0 winning lead.
Ajithlal ended up as Heroes’ top scorer with 19 points followed by Jerome (12) and Paul (8). As for the Hawks, Ashwal Rai (9) and Rohit Kumar (7) were on the table.
Calicut Heroes 3-2 Black Hawks Hyderabad (15-11, 15-11, 15-7, 12-15, 11-15)