PVL: Jerome inspires Calicut Heroes to dramatic victory

Calicut Heroes clinched the deciding fifth set 15-9 against U Mumba Volley to win the match 3-2 in a thrilling encounter in Pro Volleyball League.

Jerome Vinith attempts a smash during Calicut Heroes match against U Mumba Volley.   -  H. VIBHU

Captain Jerome Vinith was all fire and fury in the decider as he inspired Calicut Heroes to a dramatic 3-2 victory over U Mumba Volley in the RuPay Pro Volleyball League at the Rajiv Gandhi indoor stadium here on Tuesday night.

It was Heroes’ second straight win and U Mumba’s second loss from as many matches. Eight of Jerome’s 14 points in the match came from the fifth set alone.

"It was a do-or-die set, I wanted to take it with confidence," said Jerome after the thriller.

Jerome began the fifth with an ace, a ‘super serve’ which brought two points and a little later, he gave his team a super point with his stunning smash from the left flank. And with A. Karthik uncorking a super serve, the Heroes led 11-6 in the decider which made life easy for them in the end.

But that was not the case in the previous set. The Heroes led 8-4 and appeared to be cruising with the consistent C. Ajithlal – the team’s best scorer with 16 points, 15 of them from smashes – producing some telling crosscourt spikes to Vipul Kumar’s fine setting. But with U Mumba winning super points twice, when Jerome was blocked and a little later with Shubham Chaudhary’s smash, the match turned around sharply.

U Mumba was quick to grab the opportunity and with captain Deepesh Kumar, Tomislav Coskovic and Shubham producing some fine attack, Mumba levelled the match 2-2. That set also exposed the weakness in the Heroes’ first pass which affected the team’s rhythm especially when things got hot.

Ajithlal was at his best in the first and fourth sets while American Paul Lotman also lent a strong hand with 10 points. The Heroes started the match strongly and had a 6-4 lead in the second set but U Mumba bounced back, taking a super point. U Mumba’s left-handed setter Prasanth Sahora also impressed with his serves in the second set which rattled the Heroes.

But it all came together nicely for the Heroes in the end.

The result: Calicut Heroes bt U Mumba Volley 15-10, 15-12, 15-13, 15-14, 15-9.

Wednesday’s match: Kochi Blue Spikers vs Ahmedabad Defenders (7pm).