PVL: Chennai Spartans trounces Black Hawks Hyderabad

Chennai Spartans proved too good for the Black Hawks Hyderabad as it coasted to a comfortable 4-1 win in the Pro VolleyBall League 2019 on Thursday.

Roar of victory: Chennai Spartans celebrate during their win over Black Hawks Hyderabad in the Pro Volleyball League 2019 on Thursday.   -  Twitter@ProVolleyballIN

A few crucial changes in the line-up did Chennai Spartans a world of good as it defeated Black Hawks Hyderabad 4-1 for its first win of the Pro Volleyball League at the Rajiv Gandhi indoor stadium here on Thursday night.

The Spartans replaced its 40-year-old setter K. J. Kapil Dev, who had appeared a bit slow in the previous game against Calicut Heroes, with the 25-year-old V. Hariharan early in the match and the move worked wonders. The Spartans also kept its younger players on stage for a major part, which also proved effective.

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The Spartans put up a phenomenal performance that saw it recover from 0-5 and 5-10 deficits in the opening set to virtually take the match with a straight sets victory, though the bonus point eluded it. And the day’s hero was Naveen Raja Jacob, who came up with some telling smashes and clever serves during crucial moments.

Led by American Carson Clark, the Hawks looked solid in its opening game, and on Thursday it appeared to continue its good form when it led 5-0 in the first set. The left-handed attacker Clark began his show with a smash and a naughty drop. He was supported by Ashwal Rai and Rohit Kumar in the spiking and blocking departments.

But the Hawks launched into a series of errors and when the Spartans won a super point with Shelton Moses' serve troubling the rival backcourt, the Hyderabad side’s lead was down to just two points at 10-8. That spurred the Spartans and Naveen and the Chennai side grew in confidence.

The Hawks put up a three-man block for Naveen but he evaded it smartly with his crosscourt smashes. The Spartans was stronger in the blocking department with its three-man block of Rudy Verhoeff, Ruslans Sorokins and G.S. Akhin often keeping the rival attackers in check.

The Spartans led 7-3 in the second set and though the Hawks levelled at 11, the Chennai team’s two foreign stars – Rudy and Ruslan – came good towards the end and help their side break away.

Naveen was at his best in the third set which saw players from both sides messing their serves frequently. And when Ruslans produced a super serve, the Spartans led 7-4. A little later, Shelton messed up his serve on a super point and the Hawks was just a point behind at 7-8. The scores were level at nine and then began the Naveen show.

He got a super point spike, uncorked a super serve and then followed it up with another lovely service which took the team to 13-10. That turned out to be a match-winning lead.

Naveen was the top scorer of the match with 16 points while Carson, with 12, topped the Hawks’ tally.

The result

Chennai Spartans beats Black Hawks Hyderabad 4-1 (15-12, 15-12, 15-11,  15-10, 13-15)