Haryana was defeated in straight sets by an exuberant Association of Indian Universities (AIU) squad 25-21, 25-23, 25-19 in the men’s group B match of the Federation Cup volleyball tournament at the Cosmopolitan Club on Tuesday evening.

There were rough edges to the student side, some serves crashing into the net or going long. Undeterred by these lapses, the youngsters bashed on regardless, their forceful frontline and resilient backline reducing Haryana’s hardened pros to submission at first and subsequently defeating it.

AIU also proved its win against reigning champion Services in its earlier encounter was no flash in the pan. Diagonal spiking by Mujib M.C. and captain T. Sathriyan made it hard for Haryana to ‘dig’ up the hits.

So was AIU’s multiple block up for almost any challenge, its penetration giving the youngsters much more than an edge in the ‘jousts.’

In the first two games, AIU was behind but that didn’t weaken belief in its abilities as it worked its way around the odds to move to the fore in the vital last five points. It was there that the wiry lads, with their lean and mean game, showed maturity beyond their years.

Timely substitutions ensured freshness in AIU’s campaign. In contrast, Haryana’s approach appeared jaded if not exhausted, evident from the last game’s score in which the northern side really ran out of steam. Sathriyan was duly adjudged best player of the match, feted by A. Ramana Rao and G.E. Sridharan — both Arjuna Award winners.

The scores

Men: Group B: Association of Indian Universities (AIU) bt Haryana 25-21, 25-23, 25-19; Indian Railways bt Andhra Pradesh 25-14, 25-22, 25-18.

Women: Kerala bt Maharashtra 25-16, 25-9, 25-11.