Volleyball Nationals: Karnataka win again

An impressive Karnataka side notched up their second successive win after beating Services 25-19, 25-23, 27-25 in a Group ‘B’ match on day three of the 64th Senior National Volleyball Championship at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium here on Monday.

Karnataka will face Tamil Nadu on Wednesday in what will be the last group match for both teams.   -  G P Sampath Kumar

An impressive Karnataka side notched up their second successive win after beating Services 25-19, 25-23, 27-25 in a Group ‘B’ match on day three of the 64th Senior National Volleyball Championship at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium here on Monday.

Services were just a shadow of the team which had tamed a formidable Tamil Nadu unit on Sunday, even as Karnataka raised their game appreciably from the defeat of Rajasthan on the opening day.

Skipper Karthik, whose defensive game had faltered against Rajasthan, led from the front with some impressive blocks. Even as they tightened their defence, with C.M. Bharath complementing his captain well, Karnataka were judicious in their attack. The trio of T.D. Ravikumar, Anup.D.Costa and Raison Rebello made timely interventions without being spectacular.

For one and a half sets it was pretty much one-way traffic. Services’ attackers in Pankaj Sharma and A. Anshad never got going. Towards the end of the second set, the hosts were a tad lax and allowed Services to gain a tiny foothold. From 17-11, they let Services level at 20-20. But Karnataka regrouped soon and took the second set to effectively shut the door in Services’ face.

Services did improve in the third. Anshad spiked the ball with more authority. But his was pretty much a lone fighting hand as Karnataka nicked the set 27-25.

“Our blocking was very successful today,” said Karnataka coach M.H. Kumara. “The defence improved. There were some off the field things too which egged the players on. They played with more vigour.”

In a big blow, Karnataka look set to miss the services of centre blocker Ashwal Rai for the remainder of the Senior National Championship.

The Volleyball Federation of India, before Karnataka’s opening match on Saturday, had deemed him ineligible as the formalities pertaining to his transfer from Tamil Nadu to Karnataka weren’t completed on time. It had however left a window open by stating that the control committee could change the decision.

But on Monday, Kuldip Magotra, the control committee chairman said that it was powerless without a No Objection Certificate (NOC) issued by the VFI.

The Secretary General of VFI, Ramavtar Singh on his part said that it was too late to obtain an NOC and hence there was “little chance” of Rai playing.

Earlier, in the day’s first Group ‘B’ match, Tamil Nadu got their campaign back on track by handing Rajasthan their second defeat in as many games. After a below-par performance against Services, they showed enough improvement to beat last year’s bronze medallists 20-25, 25-20, 26-24, 25-19.

It was a slow start yet again for Tamil Nadu as they lost the first set, but the recovery was much faster. Captain Vaishnav, primarily a blocker, was excellent on the day, planting as many as eight smashes in the third set alone.

Tamil Nadu will meet Karnataka on Wednesday in what will be the last group match for both teams.

Results

Men: Jammu & Kashmir bt Delhi 17-25, 25-17, 25-20, 25-14; Gujarat bt Bihar 20-25, 25-21, 29-27, 25-18; Himachal Pradesh bt Odisha 25-23, 25-15, 25-23; Chhattisgarh bt Tripura 25-14, 25-13, 25-15; Haryana bt Assam 25-23, 25-19, 25-20; Odisha bt Goa 25-17, 25-14, 25-20; Tamil Nadu bt Rajasthan 20-25, 25-20, 26-24, 25-19; Karnataka bt Services 25-19, 25-23, 27-25; Telangana bt Tripura 25-14, 25-10, 25-20.

Women: Odisha w/o Tripura (non participation); Andhra Pradesh bt Gujarat 25-14, 24-26, 25-22, 25-21; Madhya Pradesh bt J&K 25-6, 25-9, 25-12; Delhi bt Bihar 25-14, 25-11, 25-12; Himachal Pradesh bt Pondicherry 25-7, 25-5, 25-7; Chandigarh bt Jharkhand 20-25, 25-11, 25-22, 22-25, 15-6; Rajasthan bt Bihar 25-14, 15-25, 25-21, 25-16; Railways bt Punjab 25-9, 25-3, 25-10; Kerala bt Telangana 25-11, 25-14, 25-18; Tamil Nadu bt Haryana 25-17, 25-18, 25-14; Uttar Pradesh bt Uttarakhand 25-20, 25-14, 25-11.

On Sunday: Men: Uttarakhand bt Chhattisgarh 25-22, 25-15, 25-17; Women: Karnataka bt Chhattisgarh 25-17, 21-25, 25-16, 25-14; Pondicherry bt Delhi 19-25, 25-17, 23-25, 25-21, 15-11