Kochi, Feb 28 (IANS) Bengaluru Torpedoes beat Calicut Heroes 15-11, 15-11, 13-15, 10-15, 15-14 in the second season of the Prime Volleyball League (PVL) at the Regional Sports Centre in Kochi on Tuesday.
Despite the defeat, Calicut Heroes confirmed a sport in the semifinals.
Sandoval came to life straightaway, putting pressure on the Torpedoes with his powerful spikes. When Jerome Vinith started sending thunderous serves, Bengaluru buckled. But when Tsvetelin Tsvetanov and Alireza Abalooch came off the bench, the momentum shifted. Unforced errors from the Heroes did not help their cause and Bengaluru took lead.
Ukkrapandian’s pairing with Sandoval and Jerome improved Calicut’s attack. But just when the doors opened for Calicut, Bengaluru skipper Pankaj Sharma struck back with monstrous serves. Ibin Jose, who was named the player of the match, kept attacking from zone 4, while libero Midhun helped Bengaluru in tackling Jerome’s hard spikes, further helping the Torpedoes in taking control of the match.
As Calicut tactically upgraded their defence, Pankaj and Ibin switched positions and the Torpedoes skipper sent a tracer bullet on the opposition’s end. But Sandoval came to the party and put on a delicious block on Pankaj to help Calicut find a way back into the contest.
The neck-and-neck battle turned intense as Ashwin started getting involved in attacks for Calicut. A crucial review call went the Torpedoes’ way and things began to heat up. Mujeeb’s block errors gave Calicut an edge and Sandoval, with his dynamic all-round show, brought things back to level pegging.
Jerome and Sandoval kept scoring for Calicut as the Reds began dominating. But Ibin stunned the Calicut Heroes with powerful attacks from the service line and Abalooch went for a hard spike to help his side win the match. With the win, the Torpedoes remained in the hunt for the playoffs, while the Hyderabad Black Hawks were knocked out.
Kochi Blue Spikers will be up against Mumbai Meteors at the Regional Sports Centre (Rajiv Gandhi Indoor Stadium) on the sixth day of the Kochi leg of the Prime Volleyball League on Wednesday.