National volleyball championships: Tamil Nadu posts easy win over Punjab

While Tamil Nadu started off with a win, Railways posted an easy 25-13, 25-13, 25-7 win over Haryana in a Group-A women’s tie.

Tamil Nadu's M. Ashwin Raj spikes the ball against Punjab during the 67th National Volleyball Championship in Chennai.   -  K. Pichumani

Tamil Nadu endured a bad start, but finished quite well scripting a 27-25, 25-21, 26-24 win in a Group-A men’s match of the senior National volleyball championships at the Nehru Indoor Stadium on Wednesday.

On the other court, defending champion Railways posted an easy 25-13, 25-13, 25-7 win over Haryana in a Group-A women’s tie.

The scheduled inauguration began one-and-a-half hours late which eventually delayed the start of the TN-Punjab contest.

Both the host and the visitor struggled in the first set primarily because of this reason.

Erring often

Setter and captain M. Ukrapandian commenced the match by serving one wide. By and large, TN couldn’t quite click as a unit as its attackers and blockers erred often.

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Universal M. Ashwin Raj was not in his elements, and the team’s main attacker Naveen Raja Jacob couldn’t land his smashes at the right places. Punjab, too was erratic with its blocks, service and attack.

Lakhbir’s attack

Thanks to Lakhbir Singh’s attack in large measure, Punjab managed to stay in the game. Towards the end of the first set, it was neck-and-neck. At 26-25, TN did well thanks to blocker G.R. Vaishnav who did a wonderful job.

It was a compact TN side that one witnessed in the second set. Ashwin Raj proved his worth, by blocking and attacking, thereby giving his team valuable points. But it was Vaishnav who was largely consistent throughout.

TN took a comfortable 23-17 lead before Punjab won three consecutive points. But a service error by Davinderdeep Singh ensured TN retained the momentum.

The third set witnessed a see-saw battle till 16-15, but TN broke free with wonderful blocking by Vaishnav and Manoj. However, at 25-24, it was an Ukrapandian’s block that got the team the match.

The results: Men: Group-A: TN beat Punjab 27-25, 25-21, 26-24; Group-A: Women: Railways bt Haryana 25-13, 25-13, 25-7.

Women: Group-A: Railways bt Haryana 25-13, 25-13, 25-7