National volleyball championships: Tamil Nadu goes down to Karnataka

Karnataka did well to put it across Tamil Nadu 25-20, 17-25, 25-21, 27-25 in a Group-A contest that the host was actually expected to win.

S. Prabagaran (r) of Railways puts it past the Haryana blockers during the 67th Senior National Volleyball Championship at Nehru Indoor Stadium in Chennai on Friday.   -  M. Vedhan

The Indian Railways team is determined to change the script this time around. After losing twice in the last two years to Kerala in the men’s final, it is keen to make amends.

Trailing by two sets to one, Railways showed its resilience to win a cliffhanger of a contest against Haryana 17-25, 25-21, 22-25, 25-13, 15-13 in a Group-B tie of the Senior National volleyball championships at the Nehru Indoor Stadium on Friday.

This is the 12-time champion’s second successive win in its Group.

Earlier, Karnataka did well to put it across Tamil Nadu 25-20, 17-25, 25-21, 27-25 in a Group A contest that the host was actually expected to win.

READ: National volleyball championships: Defending champions Kerala pockets easy win

Shubham Chaudhary of Haryana along with central blocker Sube Singh and setter Aman Singh was the main reason why Haryana, a two-time champion, was able to make a match out of it.

Shubham decimated Railways' defense with immaculate smashes while Sube did his main job of blocking and additional job of attack with aplomb. Aman did what was expected of him with intelligent passing.

Realising that the receiving was not up to its mark, Railways gradually improved its deficiency. And it was evident in the last two sets.

At crucial stages, Haryana's double block nullified the power of Shubham and Sube. Attacker S. Prabhagaran produced his best when it mattered with a flawless performance in the decider and fittingly he finished with a gorgeous smash from the middle.

Tamil Nadu’s inadequacies in attack and defense were in full view against Karnataka. Though Universal Ashwin Raj, setter Ukrapadian and attacker Naveen Raja Jacob did well, it was consistency that they lacked.

It was G.R. Vaishnav’s grand show that gave a glimmer of hope for the host whenever the chips were down. With a minimum of effort, the India blocker makes every point count. He was the lone bright spot in Tamil Nadu's drab display.

Karnataka, on the other hand, attacked with impunity. Central blocker Ashwal Rai and attacker Raison Benet Rebello toyed with a troubled defense of Tamil Nadu.

In fact, Tamil Nadu had two set points in the fourth set at 24-22 to take the match to the decider, but failed to grab the chances. Tamil Nadu next plays Kerala.

The results:

Men: Group-A: Kerala bt Punjab 25-14, 28-26, 25-23; Karnataka bt Tamil Nadu 25-20, 17-25, 25-21, 27-25; B: Railways bt Haryana 17-25, 25-21, 22-25, 25-13, 15-13.

Women: Group-A: Railways bt West Bengal  25-12, 25-10, 25-13; Tamil Nadu bt Haryana (3-0) 25-12, 25-16, 25-8; B: Kerala bt Karnataka 25-12, 24-26, 25-10, 25-16; B: Maharashtra bt Telangana 25-19, 22-25, 28-26, 25-23.