One wouldn’t be surprised if the Kochi Blue Spikers was wondering what hit it here on Saturday night in the all-Kerala clash. Calicut Heroes looked too good as it thrashed the home boys 5-0 to pick up a bonus point and stay close to the semifinals in the RuPay Pro Volleyball League and at the Rajiv Gandhi indoor stadium here.
The Heroes appeared having a plan in place and was quick to execute it even before the Blue Spikers could make sense of it. The serve was its biggest weapon – A. Karthik, captain Jerome Vinith and American Paul Lotman being the best in this department as it rattled the home boys.
Once again, Jerome was in full flow as he rose and sent down thunder frequently from the right flank. And C. Ajithlal, an attacker who has grown in stature in this league, also stood out.
For a change, the Blue Spikers looked lost. It lacked the fire power to match the Heroes and could do little to stop Jerome, Ajithlal and Paul who were well-served by the young setter Vipul Kumar, while the 38-year-old libero C.K. Ratheesh manned the backcourt well.
There was confusion for a major part on the other side. That was noticeably clear early in the second set when the Heroes raced to a 9-1 lead and the Blue Spikers began to commit a series of mistakes. Karthik impressed in this set, he came up with a strong block for David Lee and later produced fine serves and smashes. K. Praveen Kumar was the Blue Spikers’ top scorer with 10 points while David was next in the list.
“I think we are a complete team and we put them under service pressure all through,” said Paul who was adjudged as the man of the match.
Ukkrapandian, the Blue Spikers’ captain and setter, appeared to agree. “Their serves put pressure on us all, that affected the rest of our game.”
The result: Calicut Heroes bt Kochi Blue Spikers 15-11, 15-9, 15-14, 15-13, 15-10.
Sunday’s match: Black Hawks Hyderabad vs Calicut Heroes (7pm)
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