Kerala teams registered their second consecutive victories in the group league of the senior National volleyball championship, but the manner of achieving the wins was different.
Kerala men had to stretch every sinew to subdue Services in five sets. In contrast, Kerala women had no such problem against Andhra Pradesh triumphing in straight games.
The day's talking point was the match between Kerala and Services in the men's section.
The Armymen began in a whirlwind fashion taking the first set 25-22.
Last year's runner-up Kerala roared back to take the next two sets at 25-16 and 25-19. An early lead in the fourth, thanks to fine blocking and inspired spiking, especially by universal V.P. Jishad, gave Services' the set to take the match into the decider.
The well-drilled Kerala men's team tightened the defence and unleashed a series of telling smashes to run away with the match at 15-10. An early flourish gave AP women the upper hand initially in the first and second sets but the experienced Kerala got back to even the scores before pulling away to win.
Meanwhile, the Volleyball Federation of India (VFI) penalised Odisha for fielding two unregistered players, Princy Varghese and J. Maheswari, against Chhattisgarh. Odisha had won the Group D match 3-1.
The match was awarded to the host and Odisha was told not to field the two in the next matches.
The results: Men: Group A: Tamil Nadu vs Haryana 17-25, 25-18, 25-21, 25-21; Group B: Kerala bt Services 22-25, 25-16, 25-19, 14-25, 15-10; Railways bt Punjab 25-21, 25-20, 16-25, 25-23; Railways bt Services 25-21, 25-14, 29-31, 25-22.
Women: Group A: West Bengal bt HP 25-13, 25-20, 25-16; Railways bt TN 25-10, 25-21, 25-8; Group B: Karnataka bt UP 25-12, 25-16, 25-19; Kerala bt AP 25-22, 25-22, 25-13; Kerala bt UP 25-12, 25-10, 25-17.
Keywords: National volleyball championship