PVL 2019: Chennai Spartans March to Their Maiden Victory

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PVL KreedOn
Credits PVL

A change in the line-up did the trick for Chennai Spartans as they won 4-1 against Black Hawks Hyderabad, their first in the Pro Volleyball League (PVL) at the Rajiv Gandhi indoor stadium on Thursday night.

Chennai replaced its 40-year-old setter K. J. Kapil Dev with the 25-year-old V. Hariharan early in the match. The former had appeared to be a bit slow in the previous match against Calicut Heroes. Surprisingly, the move worked wonders for them.

 

Moreover, the Spartans also staged its younger players a major part of the season, further proving to be effective.

The Spartans performed resiliently as they recovered from a 0-5 and 5-10 deficits in the opening set to virtually take the match with a straight-sets victory, although the bonus point eluded it.

Naveen Raja Jacob paved victory for Chennai Spartans

Naveen Raja Jacob was the hero of the day, coming up with some clever smashes and compelling serves during crucial moments for Chennai Spartans.

Again led by America’s Carson Clark, the Hawks looked solid in the opening game. They appeared to continue its good form on Thursday as well, having taken an unassailable lead of 5-0 in the first set. Clark started the match with a smash followed by a naughty drop. He was supported well by Rohit Kumar and Ashwal Rai in the blocking and spiking departments respectively.

However, their game was marked by a series of errors. After the Spartans had won a super point through Shelton Moses’ troubling serve, the Hyderabad side’s lead was reduced to only two points at 10-8. That was the moment that spurred inspiration in the Chennai side, as Naveen grew in confidence.

The Hawks put up a three-man to block him. However, he evaded it efficiently with his smart crosscourt smashes. The Spartans side was stronger in the blocking department as well. The three-man block of Ruslans Sorokins, Rudy Verhoeff, and G.S. Akhin often keeping the rival attackers at bay.

Second Set

The Spartans were in a 7-3 lead in the second set as well. Although the Hawks went on to level at 11, the Chennai team’s two foreign stars – Ruslan and Rudy – made the difference and helped their side get the break.

Naveen was at his best in the third set as well. However, the story of the set was the frequent messy serves on both sides.

By the time Ruslans produced the super serve, Spartans were leading 7-4.

Moments later, when Shelton messed up his serve for a super point, the Hawks were just a point behind at 7-8.

Naveen got another super point spike, unleashed a super serve before producing another lovely service. The 13-10 lead that he helped his team with, turned out to be a match-winning lead.

Final Result

Chennai Spartans 4-1 Black Hawks Hyderabad

(15-12, 15-12, 15-11, 15-10, 13-15)

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Monish Gadiya is a Pune-based sports author at KreedOn. He is a thorough tech-enthusiast and believes innovation is the answer to the problems prevalent in the society. Monish graduated from University of Pune with a degree in civil engineering before pursuing a post-graduate diploma course in creative writing and intellectual property rights. A die-hard football fan, he has represented his college at various football competitions.

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