|Kochi, 1st March, 2023: Having secured their sport in the semi-finals of the Prime Volleyball League, Captain of the defending champions Ashwal Rai wants to leave no stone unturned going into their last group match against the Ahmedabad Defenders on Thursday at the Regional Sports Centre, Kochi.
Speaking ahead of their match, Ashwal feels that the team is heading in the right direction and the players know what they have to do. He said, “We played the Ahmedabad Defenders last season in the final. Last year, they had a different team but the team now consists of several new players. Moreover, it’s our last league match and it won’t make much difference as we have already qualified for semi-finals. We look to finish on a high in our last group game.”
“Our support and coaching staff have provided us with the relevant information on how to tackle the Ahmedabad Defenders. Also, some of the new players in the Ahmedabad team are someone who we have played with earlier, so we know little bit about them and their style of play, so we will make our strategy accordingly,” the middle-blocker added.
The Captain also spoke about his performance during the league games. He said, “My approach is that I consider every match in the tournament as the last one and the better I perform, the more I can build trust and confidence for myself in the team. I believe in playing without any pressure. From our team, Anush and Rahul K have impressed me the most.”
“The match which we lost against Calicut Heroes is the one I will remember as it proved to be the learning curve for our team. We aim to carry forward the lessons we got from that match and try not repeat them anymore,” he added.
The middle-blocker also opined about which opponent he would like to face in the semis. “I have no preferences. Our team’s mentality is such that we are prepared to lock horns with any team in the semis. We are only focusing on our upcoming matches and how to make it to the summit clash of the tournament. So, our only aim is to win no matter who’s the opposition,” Ashwal commented.
Meanwhile, Narayan Alva, the coach of the Kolkata Thunderbolts was confident that his team has the potential to go all the way. He said, “The players are ready for their game. They are not taking anything for granted. They understand that this is a process and we have to take it step by step. I believe that players have a lot of potential and the right motivation to go all the way.”