The Chennai Spartans hosted U Mumba Volley in the thirteenth match of the RuPay Pro Volleyball League 2019 as the two teams played out the first match of the Chennai leg at the Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium in Chennai.
U Mumba Volley picked up their maiden win of the season by a 3-2 (15-14, 15-8, 15-10, 10-15, 10-15) margin as Deepesh Kumar Sinha top-scored with 11 points while vice-captain, Vinit Kumar notched up nine points. For the Spartans, Rudy Verhoeff was in top nick as he amassed a whopping 20 points but was unfortunate to end up on the wrong side of the result.
Facing a must-win situation to stake a claim for a place in the playoffs, both teams started off with a lot of aggression in the opening set as the score read 5-5 before a couple of precise spikes from Rudy Verhoeff gave the hosts a slender 8-7 lead.
The advantage proved precious as the Spartans strode along and amassed two more points in a row to move into a 10-8 advantage. Naveen Raja Jacob's spike on the Super Point brought the Spartans two more points before Vinit Kumar pulled back a couple of points on the succeeding Super Point. However, the advantage was given away in only a few moments as the hosts produced costly errors and U Mumba Volley snatched five points in a row and in turn, a come-from-behind 15-14 win.
U Mumba's momentum continued into the second set as well, as they began strongly with a 5-1 lead before the Spartans clawed their way back through Shelton Moses and reduced the deficit to just two points. U Mumba then pinched a hat-trick of points to race away to an 8-3 advantage and through a top-notch combination from Prince's blocks and Vinit Kumar's spikes, cruised away to a decimating 15-8 win in the set.
Rudy Verhoeff's spikes stabilized the Spartans in the third set as they held on to a scoreline of 2-2 until Deepesh Sinha retained three serves as the visitors zoomed away to a 6-3 lead. However, a couple of errors from U Mumba shifted momentum to the Spartans' side as the score read 7-6 in favor of U Mumba heading into the first time-out
Rudy Verhoeff's Super Serve helped the Spartans snatch an 8-7 lead until U Mumba regained their lost touch and claimed an 11-9 lead. U Mumba's defense unit came to the party on the Super Point as they denied V Hariharan and through Saqlain Tariq's all-round show, picked up a 15-10 win and with that, an assured win in the match.
In the fourth set, U Mumba claimed a 4-2 advantage and a Super Serve from Deepesh Sinha swelled the lead to 7-3. However, the Spartans found their way back as they reduced the lead to a solitary point and soon took an 11-9 lead, courtesy of both the Super Points going their way.
Errors from both sides kept the lead with the Spartans' side as they inched ahead to 12-10 and in the end, two mistakes in a row from U Mumba skipper, Deepesh Sinha gave the hosts their first set win in the match, courtesy of a 15-10 margin.
The final set bore witness to some scintillating action as the two teams dealt each other blow for blow with the score reading 6-5, as both teams fought for the momentum. Rudy Verhoeff's Super Serve drifted the momentum towards the Spartans as they claimed a five-point lead.
The U Mumba Volley, having bagged the match already, seemed a little off in the final set as Tomislav Coskovic's error on the Super Point laid emphasis on the Spartans' top show that helped them to a 13-8 lead and ultimately, a 15-10 win in the final set, courtesy of a thunderous spike from Akhin GS.
Impact Player - Deepesh Kumar Sinha
The U Mumba Volley skipper was in prime form tonight as he picked up 11 points from the match and was dominant in both the attacking and defensive fronts. However, his real showing was with his serves, as four of his points came through some pacy serves.
Next up, the Chennai Spartans will step on the court to host the Ahmedabad Defenders tomorrow while U Mumba will play the Defenders in what will be the final league stage game for both of the teams, day after tomorrow.