Day 15 of the RuPay Pro Volleyball League saw U Mumba Volley qualify for the playoffs on set difference defeating Ahmedabad Defenders 4-1 (10-15, 15-12, 15-13, 15-12, 15-8).
U Mumba Volley will now play table-toppers Calicut Heroes in the first semi-final on 19th Feb 2019 at the Nehru Indoor Stadium in Chennai.
The first set started with both teams giving each other a tough fight. Each point was thoroughly contested but two errors from U Mumba costed them as Ahmedabad went into the first Technical Time Out (TTO) with an 8-7 lead. U Mumba’s errors were hitting them bad as two more unforced errors helped Ahmedabad race into an 11-8 lead. U Mumba immediately called for a Super Point and converted with a Vinit Kumar spike. Ahmedabad also called for a Super Point and took the advantage of the same. Ahmedabad were able to protect the advantage and won the set 15-10.
The second set looked like a different story though, U Mumba skipper Deepesh Sinha was looking in good rhythm, as he scored from 2 spikes and a block to give his side an 8-5 advantage at TTO. Ahmedabad called for a Super Point at 8-11 and converted with a Victor Sysoev spike. But U Mumba was in no mood to let the advantage slip as they won the set 15-12 to level the match 1-1.
In the third, U Mumba were off to a flying start as they scored 4 quick points with Saqlain Tariq coming up with the first Super Serve of the match. U Mumba was the team in form as they went into the TTO with a 6-point advantage.
Ahmedabad looked like as if they will mount a comeback as they got 3 points on the trot at 5-11, they even converted their Super Point as the score stood 9-12 in favour of U Mumba. Ahmedabad was fighting back and the difference was only of 2 points at 11-13 after two continuous points by Sysoev on a spike followed by a serve. U Mumba managed to close the third set 15-13 with a spike by skipper Sinha.
U Mumba was serving immaculately in the fourth set as two serves by Pankaj Sharma and one by Kumar helped U Mumba to a 9-4 lead. Ahmedabad called for a Super Point at 5-10 and was successfully converted by Sysoev. Ahmedabad fought back hard and brought the score to 12-13.
U Mumba held their nerve and a block by Nicholas Del Bianco won the set for them by 15-12. U Mumba led 3-1 at this point. The Mumbaikars were relentless in the last set as Vinit Kumar led the charge with a Super Serve and two more service points as they won the set 15-8 and wrapped up the match at a 4-1 margin.
There was a major rule modification for the play-offs announced officially by the league:
The play-off matches will be played in a best of 5 set formats with each set of 15 points each. In the event of scores being 14-14 in any of the sets, the team that first establishes a difference of two will end up winning the set.However, in the event of score reaching 20-20, the 21st point will be the deciding point.
In the Play-off matches, the teams will be given one referral per set. The referral will be lost once taken by a team irrespective of whether the team wins or loses the referral. The referral can only be called for net touch, touch out and line calls.