The defending champions Kolkata Thunderbolts began their campaign in the second season of the Prime Volleyball League with a thrilling 15-11, 15-11, 15-14, 10-15, 14-15 win against the hosts Bengaluru Torpedoes at the Koramangala Indoor Stadium.
With the win, Thunderbolts earned two points from the contest. Janshad was named the Player of the Match.
Bengaluru Torpedoes began the match with Tsvetelin Tsvetanov earning the first point in the season for his team with a fantastic spike as the home crowd roared loudly. A minute later, Tsvetanov earned another point and Mujeeb MC put on a beautiful block as Torpedoes increased their lead to 4-2.
Just when it looked like Torpedoes might win the first set comfortably, a delightful deft touch from Cody Caldwell, along with a fantastic block from captain Ashwal Rai gave Kolkata two crucial points and reduced the gap to 9-10.
Ashwal sent a Super Serve as Thunderbolts took lead for the first time in the match, and less than a minute later, Cody tapped the ball over the net as Kolkata came from behind to take the first set 15-11.
Kolkata continued the momentum in the second set as it earned two quick points. Vinit Kumar’s spike further extended Kolkata’s lead, putting the hosts on the back foot. Alireza Abalooch earned the first point in the set for Bengaluru with a powerful hit. It did not affect the tide in the game and Thunderbolts earned a flurry of points to take a five-point lead in the set.
Torpedoes earned four points quickly and closed the gap to 5-7. Rahul K struck onto the nets and Bengaluru Torpedoes gained another point. With two consecutive spikes, Deepesh Kumar Sinha brought his team back in control, and Kolkata took a 2-0 lead in the match, winning the set 15-11.
Cody’s stunning form continued in the third set as he pinched a ball over the net to give Kolkata an early lead in the third set. Mujeeb’s stunning block allowed Torpedoes to get back into the contest as it took the lead in the set, much to the delight of head coach David Lee.
Vinit, with a spike, brought Thunderbolts back into the set as he reduced the gap to 5-8. Two consecutive unforced errors from Torpedoes allowed Kolkata to level the score. Bengaluru’s Tsvetelin struck the ball outside the boundary lines and the Thunderbolts took a 13-11 lead, but Bengaluru earned two quick points to get back to level pegging.
With both teams tied at 14-14, an error from Torpedoes’ Ibin Jose on the serve ended the thrilling contest as Kolkata Thunderbolts won the third set 15-14 to win the match in straight sets.
Playing for the bonus point, Bengaluru earned a 4-2 lead quickly at the start of the fourth set. Hariharan set up Torpedoes’ libero Hari Prasad BS for a spike and he struck a powerful shot as the home team maintained a strong lead in the fourth set. Torpedoes continued to make unforced errors as Thunderbolts found a way back into the set. With a Super Point on offer, Ibin pinched the ball over the nets perfectly as Torpedoes won the fourth set 15-10.
Torpedoes captain Pankaj put on a fantastic block to level the scoreline in the final set, after Thunderbolts took an early lead. Srajan tapped the ball over the nets as he gave Torpedoes a lead in the set. A double touch by Hari Prasad BS allowed Bengaluru to regain their two-point lead, but Deepesh’s spike reduced the gap again.
With Super Point on offer, Torpedoes’ struck the ball outside allowing Kolkata to take lead. But Bengaluru earned two three consecutive points to take a 14-13 lead. Ibin’s final shot went outside after a touch from Thunderbolts’ player and Torpedoes won the set, but Kolkata won the match 3-2.
Calicut Heroes will be up against Mumbai Meteors at the Koramangala Indoor Stadium in the second match of the Prime Volleyball League in Bengaluru at 7PM IST on Sunday, 05 February 2023.
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