Day 5 of the RuPay Pro Volleyball League saw Kochi Blue Spikers edge -passed the resilient Ahmedabad Defenders (10-15, 15-11, 11-15,15-12, 15-12) in Kochi, Kerala.
For Kochi, it was Olympic Gold Medalist David Lee who scored 10 points (7 spikes, 2 blocks and 1 serve point). On the other hand, it was Victor Sysoev who was the stand-out performer for Ahmedabad Defenders with 13 points (11 spikes and 2 blocks) to his name.
Ahmedabad started the first set with a flurry of points with Gurinder Singh hitting three spikes and one block to give his team a 4-0 lead. Riding on the momentum Ahmedabad called for a Super Point at 5-1 and converted the same in style as Mandeep Singh landed a Super Serve to increase the lead to 7-1. After trailing at 3-8 at the Technical Time Out (TTO), Kochi came out with fire in their belly clinching two consecutive points.
Rightly they called for a Super Point but lost the conversion opportunity owing to a block by Victor Sysoev. Kochi looked as if they will stage a comeback as the lead was narrowed down to 13-10 but Ahmedabad made sure that didn’t happen and closed the set 15-10.
The second set looked more of a competition as both the teams were matching each other move after move. At 7-7 Kochi called for a Super Point and a won it going into the TTO at 9-7. Kochi continued with their attacking game as David Lee and Andrej Patuc with combined points from the spike and serve helped Kochi increase their lead to 14-11. Manu Joseph added the finishing touch with a spike, as Kochi won the set 15-11.
Kochi continued from where the left in the last set as they raced to a 5-2 lead with Lee, Patuc, and Joseph again the architects of the lead. Ahmedabad showed resilience and leveled the score at 7-7 but an error at the net by Novica Bjelica gave Kochi a point advantage at TTO. Post TTO, it was a hard-fought battle till 11-11 before Kochi called for a Super Point and Ahmedabad broke their serve to gain the advantage. Immediately, seeing the opening Ahmedabad called for a Super Point and Sysoev’s well-timed block helped his team win the set 15-11 and a 2-1 advantage in the match.
In the fourth set, Ahmedabad really looked positive and went into an 8-4 lead. At 8-4 Ahmedabad called for a Super Point and missed the opportunity. Immediately Kochi called for a Super Point and converted to level the score at 8-8. Till the very end, it looked like anyone’s set before two consecutive points by Kochi at 13-12 helped them close the set at 15-12 and match went into a decider.
In the decider, Kochi looked like running away with the match as they established a 6-1 lead with the help of one super serve and a serve point by Ukkrapandian. Ahmedabad, with their never say die attitude staged a comeback and reduced the deficit to 7-8. Kochi who seemed like losing steam now took the initiative in their hands and a Super Serve by K Praveen Kumar gave his team a four-point lead at 11-7.
Kochi wanting to end the game in a hurry called for a Super Point but lost the opportunity. The set was heading towards a nail-biting finish with the score at 11-10 in favor of Kochi. In the end, Kochi held on to their nerves as an error on serve by Ranjit Singh gave Kochi the set 15-12 and the match 3-2.