All-win record gives SR women the title
Host IOB's dreams were dashed as ONGC (Dehradun) played splendidly to post a standout straight-game win in final of the men's section of the IOB platinum jubilee National club volleyball championship at the Montfort indoor stadium here on Saturday.
Earlier in the women's section, Southern Railway completed its league engagements with an all-win record to clinch the title. Its win over Central Railway also helped KSEB (Thiruvananthapuram) take the second place on points. KSEB had 10 points to Central's nine.
Both the winners qualify for the Asian club championship, for the men in China in June and for women in Thailand in April.
The good gathering that had waited for the main fare of the evening was treated to some delightful power play and efficient defence from the men's finalists. More importantly ONGC showed the qualities of a winning combination.
When two strong teams facing off, there was little room for sloppiness. For IOB, libero Balasubramani appeared off colour while Ukkrapandian's setting lacked the imagination to unsettle ONGC which blocked with aplomb.
While Shelton Moses for once failed to show the perfection in his work at the net for IOB, the lanky Subba Rao was outstanding as central blocker for ONGC. He also effectively finished off short-boosts with panache.
Selvaprabhu served with gusto, his jump-serves at one point bringing IOB two points in a row. He was also effective as a spiker who would often come from behind to blast perfectly. But then this was little comfort in the face of other failings.
Nadarajan had a long stay in the bench and the other star player Naveen Raja Jacob could not come up with his patented smashes and IOB suffered.
In fact as the contest progressed IOB looked clueless at times, so effective was the rival's blockings and control. In addition ONGC must thank setter Ranjit Singh, who played a great role in evoking the right response from its spikers, particularly Mandeep Singh, Lalit Kumar and Gurchand.
The trio rarely missed opportunities to break the rival blocks each time IOB threatened to narrow the leeway.
In the match for the third place, HSIIDC defeated Chennai Customs over five games.
The results: Men: Final: ONGC bt IOB 25-20, 25-19, 25-20. Third place: HSIIDC bt Chennai Customs 25-22, 17-25, 25-22, 21-25, 15-10.
Women: League: Southern Railway bt Central Railway 25-18, 25-17, 21-25, 25-18. Final placings: 1. Southern Railway, 2. KSEB, 3. Central Railway.
Special prizes: Men: best blocker: Shelton Moses (IOB), best attacker: John Christopher (Customs); best setter: Ranjit Singh (ONGC); best universal: Sanjay Kumar (HSIIDC); best libero: Amritpal (HSIIDC).
Women: best blocker: P.J. Jomol (KSEB); best attacker: M.S. Poornima (SAI Tellicherry); best universal: Minimol Abrahram (Southern Railway); best setter: K. Sudhamani (Eastern Railway); best libero: Priyanka Khedkar (Central Railway).