The action from the RuPay Pro Volleyball League 2019 carried on tonight as the Calicut Heroes took on U Mumba Volley at the Rajiv Gandhi Indoor Stadium in Kochi, Kerala.
Calicut Heroes and U Mumba Volley battled it out in an engaging clash that saw the Heroes win in a closely-fought encounter with a 3-2 score, to register their second win on the bounce.
Heroes' Ajith Lal C (16 points) and skipper, Jerome Vinith (14 points) were the key men behind the win, leading their side to the top of the standings.
The first set of the match saw the two sides start positively keeping and the match evenly poised. However, a miscued serve from Vinit Kumar and a block by the Calicut attacker, Paul Lotman saw the Heroes take an 8-7 lead heading into the technical timeout. U Mumba Volley tried to use the Super Point to exert pressure on the Calicut side but Ajith Lal's powerful spike played spoilsport to the Mumbai based team's efforts of trying to claw back. Jerome Vinith wrapped up the set at 15-10, with a thundering outside hit to give Calicut the early advantage.
Calicut Heroes started strong in the second set with good all-around play, taking a 6-4 lead in quick time. However, U Mumba Volley did well in the next three plays, winning the Super Point taken by the Heroes to take a 8-6 lead into the timeout. The Mumbaikars capitalized on their initial momentum to take a 12-6 lead in the set, with strong spikes by Tomislav Coskovic and Nicholas Del Bianco. The Heroes put up a strong fight to cut the deficit down to two points but a Coskovic spike got U Mumba Volley level on the board as they won the set, 15-12.
It was an extremely close contest in the third set from the get-go as Calicut Heroes and U Mumba Volley fought tooth and nail in a bid to pull ahead in the match. The two sides went back and forth constantly. U Mumba missed the chance to take the advantage by losing the Super Point but did well to keep it tight on the scoreboard right until 12-12. Jerome Vinith landed a crucial spike and an error from Coskovic handed a set point to the Heroes but U Mumba saved it to make things interesting. Ajith Lal was the key man yet again with his conversion on set point with a spike to wrap up the set at 15-13.
The crowd was in strong support of the home side, Calicut Heroes and the team responded well starting out with firm confidence. Ajith Lal was the star man in action for them, landing his devastating spikes from the left outer position, making hay of defensive lapses by the U Mumba side. However, U Mumba did well to bounce back, winning the Heroes' Super Point and their own as well to sneak into a 12-10 lead. Calicut took it right to the end, showing grit to make it 14-14. But Shubham Chaudhary's spike proved too hot to handle for the Heroes as the U Mumba side levelled the match with sets apiece.
The deciding set started off with a Super Serve by the Calicut Heroes' skipper, Jerome Vinith but U Mumba Volley pulled it back with spikes from Deepesh Sinha and Shubham Chaudhary. However, Jerome continued to land his spikes well and won the Super Point for Calicut to take a 9-6 lead, going into the technical timeout. Vinith was the star of the final set, wrapping up the match and set for the Heroes at 15-9.
Impact Player - Ajith Lal C (Calicut Heroes)
The 'Hydrogen Boy', Ajith Lal C, proved to be the crucial man on the court yet again with his thundering spikes. He scored 15 spike points from all over the court and even had one successful block for the winning side.
The next match for the Calicut Heroes will see them take on local state rivals, Kochi Blue Spikers on 8th February. U Mumba Volley will enjoy a few days off and face off against the Black Hawks Hyderabad on 11th February.