The first professional league tournament for volleyball in India, the RuPay Pro Volleyball League 2019, ended with Chennai Spartans emerging as the winners. The league volleyed into the hearts of the fans as the stadiums saw refreshing amounts of fans chanting on their favourite teams and players in every single match..
Right from the first match to the finals, it was a treat for the organizers and broadcasters with people coming in huge numbers. The final witnessed 6,152 spectators come out to the Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium, the most of all the matches.
The huge turn-out in the stadiums over the course of the tournament was a result of the fantastic show being put up on the court by the teams. It was an absolute delight to watch the players in tandem, scoring and blocking points. With the inaugural season in the books, there has been some amount of intrigue that has been generated by the numbers behind the electrifying performances from teams as well as players individually.
Let us have a look at some of the numbers that made the highlights of the tournament.
#1. Rudy Verhoeff gets more than 100 points to his name
Canadian international, Rudy Verhoeff scored a total of 106 points in the RuPay Pro Volleyball League, becoming the only player in this edition to cross the 100-point mark. The Chennai Spartans' player was 20 points ahead of the second placed, Jerome Vinith of the Calicut Heroes.
Rudy also averaged of 15.1 points in the season, with Jerome and Ajith following at 12.3 and 12 respectively, all across seven matches.
#2. Super Servers Karthik A and Jerome Vinith
With the tweaked rule of Super Serve being added to the league, players found it a way to make easy points for their teams. Calicut Heroes' skipper, Jerome Vinith and his teammate, Karthik A made the most of the rule by picking up four Super Serves’ points each to their names.
Each Super Serve gave the team two points, which meant less work done and more points earned.
#3. Verhoeff tops the Spike charts too
Rudy Verhoeff was award the Best Spiker award for the RuPay Pro Volleyball League 2019. It was because of his impressive 88 spike points that helped Chennai Spartans win the title in the end.
Rudy was a key player for Chennai in the semi-finals and the finals as he managed to get 11 and 11 points respectively. It won't be wrong to say that he single-handedly saw the Spartans over the line in the finals.
#4. David Lee stands tall for Kochi
The Olympian from the United States, David Lee, was the best defensive player of the league, having earned himself 16 block points from six matches. The league saw some good defensive work from the Indian players as well, with Ashwal Rai and Deepesh Kumar Sinha, taking 15 and 14 block points respectively.
#5. Most serve points for Chennai's Naveen
Naveen Raja Jacob picked up two serve points for the championship winning team in the final match, the most by any player. The attacker earned 17 serve points from seven matches, making him the player with highest serve points won.
He was closely followed by Calicut Heroes' Karthik A, who earned 16 points from seven matches.
#1. Calicut Heroes' complete dominance of the points table
The runners-up of the inaugural edition, Calicut Heroes had an unbeaten run till their loss in the finals. In the league stages, the Heroes' won all five of their matches, with complete dominance over the other teams.
Calicut notched a whitewash victory over the Kohi Blue Spikers, 5-0, a feat no other team could achieve. This gave them an extra point in the points table, and also made them the favourite to win the title.
The Heroes had a set difference of +13 in the standings, while the second placed Blue Spikers had just a difference of +1. Having won their matches with a big margin of points, the Calicut based team were 68 points ahead of the Kochi based team in terms of the points difference. Safe to say, the Calicut side was all systems go in the league stages.
#2. Heroes completely influence the stats tables too
Calicut Heroes also emerged as the most commanding team when it comes to the play statistics. They managed to hold the top position in three of the six major stats of the game.
Having won all the matches except one, the Heroes lead the table of Total Points, with a tally of 441 points. Their opponent in the finals and eventual winners, Chennai Spartans had 436 Total Points.
Led by Jerome Vinith, Calicut had their name engraved on the top position of most Serve Points and most Super Serves. They lead the Serve Points table with 46 points, and got 12 Super Serves under their belt.
#3. Most Super Points and Spike Points for Chennai Spartans
The winners of the RuPay Pro Volleyball League 2019 grabbed the most Super Points as well as most Spike Points in the inaugural edition.
They amassed a total of 28 Super Points from seven matches. Kochi Blue Spikers, who played a match less, had 26 Super Points to their name.
In the Spike Points division, Chennai managed to get one point more than the runners-up, Calicut Heroes and sit atop the table. They earned 243 Spike Points while Calicut managed 242.
#4. U M umba Volley - The team with the best defense
One of the four semi-finalists of the league, U Mumba Volley, had the best defense of all six teams. In only six matches, the Mumbai-based team managed to pick 54 block points whereas the second placed, Calicut Heroes had 42 block points from seven matches.
Mumbai skipper Deepesh Kumar was the top contributor for the team with 16 block points, while Vinit Kumar picked up 13. The 19-year old youngster, Prince, also made his contribution with 11 points.
Surprisingly, Chennai Spartans found themselves at the bottom of the table with only 32 block points from seven matches.