The RuPay Pro Volleyball League 2019 came to its conclusion with Chennai Spartans emerging champions of the inaugural edition, defeating Calicut Heroes at the Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium in Chennai.
There were many players who played a key role in their respective team's success through the course of the league and knockouts. The overseas players were in fine touch for their teams with Canadian Rudy Verhoeff finishing as the top scoring spiker and David Lee emerging as the best blocker through the competition. However, there were a lot of Indian players who displayed their best form as well, making an impact on the court.
Below we take a look at the best starting lineup for the RuPay Pro Volleyball League 2019 - Team of the Tournament:
#1 Rudy Verhoeff - Chennai Spartans
Chennai Spartans' Rudy Verhoeff was the Best Spiker of the RuPay Pro Volleyball League 2019, finishing with a tally of 88 spike points from seven matches. Rudy was key for the Chennai Spartans' run to the final, overcoming the challenge from the unbeaten Calicut Heroes in straight sets.
Rudy was highly efficient from the outside hitting position on the right, scoring with angled spikes as well as along the lines, thereby proving to be constant trouble for his opponent blockers.
#2 - David Lee - Kochi Blue Spikers
American volleyball sensation David Lee was perhaps the biggest name to have come aboard for the first season of the RuPay Pro Volleyball League. He was the middle blocker for the Kochi Blue Spikers and was crucial for their run to the semifinals.
Lee finished with a league-high tally of 16 block points in 6 matches, using his staggering height and exquisite timing to great use. He even contributed with 40 spike points for the Blue Spikers, further establishing his importance in the squad.
#3 Ajith Lal C - Calicut Heroes
The 'Hydrogen Boy', as he is nicknamed by the fans and experts alike, Ajith Lal C was the find of the RuPay Pro Volleyball League 2019. He enthralled the crowds in Kochi and Chennai with his thunderous spikes from all over the court.
Ajith Lal C picked up 74 spike points during the seven matches he played and was a handy blocker as well for the Calicut Heroes. He will surely be a name that Indian volleyball fans will be keeping in their minds in the future.
#4 Mohan Ukkrapandian - Kochi Blue Spikers
The 32-year-old setter, Mohan Ukkrapandian, proved his credentials as one of the best setters in India with his performances for the Kochi Blue Spikers.
Ukkrapandian had a good range of attackers at his disposal on all sides of the court and his distributional ability on his sets proved key to Kochi's success. Mohan was smart with his sets, proving difficult to anticipate for his opponents and catching them surprised with the one-off spike as well every now and again.
#5 Naveen Raja Jacob - Chennai Spartans
Chennai Spartans' Naveen Raja Jacob was one of the best players on the mat for them through the competition, finishing with a haul of 78 total points in seven matches. He was the best server in the league, scoring 17 points including three Super Serve points.
Naveen Raja Jacob was adjudged the Player of the Match in Chennai's final win over Calicut Heroes for his crucial eight points’ contribution. He finished as the fourth highest points scorer in the league behind Rudy Verhoeff, Ajith Lal C and Jerome Vineeth.
#6 Jerome Vineeth - Calicut Heroes
Calicut Heroes' skipper Jerome Vinith was one of the most consistent players until the final of the RuPay Pro Volleyball League 2019. He finished the tournament with a tally of 70 spike points and 12 service points.
Vinith formed a strong attacking partnership with teammates Ajith Lal C and Paul Lotman as Calicut Heroes marched through the competition, staying unbeaten through the league stages. He was highly efficient with his kills, coming to the net from the outside position and landing with consistency.