ONGC (Dehradun) overcame BPCL (Kochi) 25-17, 17-25, 25-21, 25-21 in the men’s semifinals of the National Club volleyball championship here on Saturday.
The contests between the teams who play regularly in the PSPB inter-unit tournaments have mostly been tough. This time, ONGC fared better at crucial moments, as universal Mandeep Singh rose to the occasion whenever the team was down.
Mandeep was simply superb in the first set. Though his performance dipped in the second, he came back strongly in the third and fourth sets.
BPCL, on the other hand, depended heavily on Tom Joseph. Though he did well throughout, he didn’t get enough support from his teammates. His spiking, placements and touch-outs were a treat to watch.
After leading two sets to one, ONGC began the fourth on a wrong note as BPCL went ahead 4-0. Thanks to Subba Rao’s block and effective smashes by Navjet Singh, ONGC stormed back.
It was neck and neck till 17-16 before solid blocks by Gurchand Singh and Mandeep’s timely intervention at the net, ONGC took a 20-17 lead and never looked back.
ONGC finished the contest in style, with Mandeep smashing a winner.
Last year’s runner-up Indian Overseas Bank (Chennai) outclassed Western Railway (Mumbai) 25-18, 29-27, 25-17 in the second semifinal.
Ukkarapandian’s setting and blocking was of a high standard while universal Selvaprabhu’s dipping smashes brooked no reply from Railway.
Vaishnav’s blocks were the highlight of the third set while S. Karthik and Naveen Raja Jacob’s spikes were timed to perfection during a close second set when the Railway team had four set points.
St. Joseph’s third
In the women’s section, St. Joseph’s College of Engineering (Chennai) defeated Mayor’s Club (Hyderabad) 26-24, 27-25, 17-25, 25-14 to finish third.
Men: Semifinals: ONGC bt BPCL 25-17, 17-25, 25-21, 25-21; IOB bt W. Railway 25-18, 29-27, 25-17.
Women (round-robin): St. Joseph’s CoE bt Mayor’s Club (Hyderabad) 26-24, 27-25, 17-25, 25-14.
Keywords: National Club volleyball