Kochi, 25th February 2023: Kochi Blue Spikers stunned Calicut Heroes to get their first win in the second season of the RuPay Prime Volleyball League powered by A23, beating the derby rivals 15-13, 14-15, 12-15, 15-7, 15-11 at the Regional Sports Centre, Kochi on Saturday. Erin Varghese was named as the player of the match.
As soon as the bell rang, Mohan Ukkrapandian ran a combination play with Ashwin Raj and Calicut Heroes showcasing their aggressive intentions. Calicut’s serve errors continued once again with Ashwin, Sandoval, and Matt Hilling all serving wide.
With soft-serve starts, Kochi started involving Shubham Chaudhary and Erin Varghese in attacks and the strategy worked. Abhinav stood tall and strong in the middle and helped Spikers take lead. As Jerome Vinith started getting involved in Calicut’s attacks, Kochi’s defence struggled. Sandoval’s two-man block line came to the party and stopped Erin’s attacks. Jerome’s unstoppable spikes led to Calicut finding an opening.
Walter’s efficient blocks from the middle kept making things hard for Calicut attackers. But blind shots from Shubham did not work in Kochi’s favour and the Heroes took lead. Ashwin began involving more in Calicut’s offence and the dynamics of the game shifted.
Rohit and Shubham began smashing from opposite zones. Serving Hilling on the ankle, Kochi kept Sandoval out of play. Erin joined the attacking party, and the Spikers fired from the outside. Jerome tested Erin with powerful serves and kept troubling Kochi’s defence. Both teams kept making serve errors in the nervy final set.