The Black Hawks Hyderabad capped off their league stage encounters, with a 3-2 win against the U Mumba Volley in the eleventh match of the RuPay Pro Volleyball League 2019, at the Rajiv Gandhi Indoor Stadium in Kochi, Kerala.
Rohit Kumar was the star for the Black Hawks with 10 points and Ashwal Rai (9 points) and Carson Clark (8 points) were in fine form as well. For U Mumba Volley, Pankaj Sharma (15 points) and Vinit Rai (14 points) finished as the top-scorers.
The opening set of the match began with a mark of aggression as both teams went all-out to take the important lead at the start. With the scores tied on 3-3, Shubham Chaudhury's Super Serve broke the deadlock as U Mumba Volley snatched a 5-3 lead.
A couple of powerful spikes from Rohit Kumar helped the Black Hawks claw back as the scores read 6-6, only to see U Mumba yet again claiming the lead courtesy of some smart calls on the court. Both teams claimed one Super Point each as the set heated up with a one-point edge in favor of U Mumba which, in the end, sufficed as U Mumba Volley registered a fine 15-13 win in the opening set.
The second set started off on a thrilling note with both teams dealing blow for blow as the momentum continually shifted with each passing point. The Black Hawks enjoyed a slender 8-7 lead, going into the break that seemed to work their way as they motored away to an 11-8 advantage.
U Mumba's call to play the Super Point paid rich dividends as the lead was cut to just a single point but in vain as the Black Hawks held on to notch up a hat-trick of points and claim a 15-11 win in the second set.
U Mumba Volley appeared a fresh bunch post the second set loss as they struck crucial blows early in the third set through Pankaj Sharma and zoomed away to a 6-2 lead. The Black Hawks seemed clueless against U Mumba's offensive style of play that only gifted their opponents some much-needed momentum.
With a massive 13-7 lead in their favor, U Mumba made the most of some unforced errors from the Black Hawks, who surprisingly substituted their skipper, Carson Clark, and cruised to a 15-7 victory as a result of skipper, Deepesh Sinha's block on the Super Point.
Brimming with confidence, U Mumba started strong in the fourth set as they galloped away to a 4-1 lead before a host of errors gave the Black Hawks some crucial points which meant that the score was all square at 4-4. The Black Hawks did well to claim the lead at 6-5 but failed to hold on to the advantage as U Mumba rallied back to pick three points in a row and steal the lead.
A couple of important spikes and a stunning block from Rohit Kumar levelled scores at 9-9, until Nicholas Del Bianco's Super Serve on his first appearance in the game gave U Mumba a 12-10 lead. Ashwal Rai's pin-point spike on the Super Point caused yet another deadlock which continued till the final point as Amit's searing spike handed the Black Hawks a thrilling 15-14 win in the fourth set and took the match till the deciding set.
In the deciding set, the two teams fought tooth and nail as the scoreline was firmly in balance at 2-2, before U Mumba picked up two points in a row to take a 4-2 lead. A top effort from Black Hawks' skipper Carson Clark saw him pick up three points in a row as the Black Hawks claimed a 8-6 lead into the technical timeout.
Clark's aggression seemed to brush off on the rest of his team as the Black Hawks left no stone unturned and blazed away to a 10-7 lead. However, a Super Point rewarded U Mumba with two points as they pulled back in style to erase the lead.
With the score on 11-11, Rohit Kumar's solo block on the Super Point granted his team two important points, a lead which the Black Hawks retained as, in the end, the Carson Clark-led side celebrated a thrilling 13-15, 15-11, 7-15, 15-14, 15-11 win over U Mumba Volley.
Impact Player - Rohit Kumar (Black Hawks Hyderabad)
The experienced attacker was at his all-round best on the night as he sent out some searing spikes and also played a crucial part on the defensive front. Kumar amassed 10 points from the night, with six of the points coming through spikes and four points through formidable blocks.
Next up, U Mumba Volley will face off against the Chennai Spartans on the 16th while the Black Hawks Hyderabad will head into a long break with them having reached the end of their league stage campaign.