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National Club Volleyball Championship: BPCL claw from behind for win over ICF

It was a good day in office for BPCL as they started their campaign in the National Club Volleyball Championship on a winning note.

BPCL men outduelled ICF 25-18, 24-26, 22-25, 25-19, 15-7 in a grueling five-setter in the men’s section.

Playing in front of a packed crowd at the Trustpuram Corporation Ground, Kodambakkam, BPCL were taken to the distance by ICF but their vast experience and superb blocking were the key ingredients in pulling through.

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The opening set was a lop-sided affair as the yellow brigade put it across ICC 25-18. ICF were let down by their star player and international S. Prabhakaran, who had a truly forgettable start making several errors much to the discomfort of his team.

The second was a keenly contested. Prabhakaran lifted his game by a few notches and was well supported by all-rounder Bala Ganesh and blocker Vigith Kumar as ICF started to control the set.

ICF weathered the resistance from BPCL to pocket the second set 26-24 to level the issue 1-1.

ICF grew in confidence in the third set. They were powered by the magnificent serving of Vignesh. He won nine points on the trot as ICF, who were trailing 12-16 took a 21-16 lead. His sterling serves were a big factor in ICF bagging the third set 25-22.

Two sets to one up, ICC had everything going for them but they pressed the inconsistent button, which allowed the seasoned BPCL outfit to restore parity winning the fourth set 25-9.

BPCL took full control of the final, not allowing any opportunities for ICF to fightback. BPCL introduced blocker P. Rohit late in the match but it proved decisive as he swung the match in his side’s favour with some robust blocks in the decider.

In the women’s section, KSEB women had a stroll-in-the-park kind of outing against Mayor’s Club (Hyderabad), crushing them in straight sets – 25-19, 25-7, 25-14.

KSEB eves featuring internationals Tiji Raju and PJ Jomol put up a fine all-round display to make short work of Mayor’s Club. The first set was closely fought but once KSEB prevailed, there was no stopping them as they won the next two sets in convincing fashion.

KSEB has been in imperious form this season with three tournament wins and a runners-up finish.

Earlier on Monday, strong contenders Indian Overseas Bank (IOB) overcame a first set setback to rack up a 15-25, 25-19, 27-25, 25-22 victory over Income Tax (Hyderabad).

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