Railways got the better of an energetic Rajasthan, while Services comfortably defeated an error-prone Punjab to reach the quarterfinals of the 62nd National volleyball championship at the Teerthanker Mahaveer University indoor sports complex here on Tuesday.
Railways scored its second win and Services its first as they completed their group engagements. After playing a gruelling five-setter against Kerala on Monday, the Railways players were a little off-colour against Rajasthan in their Group A match.
However, they held their nerve to thwart an aggressive rival, searching for its first points, 25-23, 27-25, 25-20. All three sets were keenly fought, with two going down to the wire. Rajasthan rode on the outstanding effort of Lavmeet Kataria, who executed some fabulous blocks and sharp attacks to earn valuable points.
The Khoiwal brothers, Dilip and Suresh, impressed with their versatility at the net and off it. Suresh and Kataria scored a few crucial points in the closing stages of the first set before Railways managed to snatch it by a whisker. The second set also witnessed a tight finish as Railways squandered two set points at 24-22 before wrapping up a 2-0 lead.
S. Prabagaran, with his precision and timing, was a treat to watch. The wiry spiker stood out with his incisive service, strong blocks and attacks from front and back.
Switching to a more attacking mode, he garnered maximum points for Railways in the third set.
Services beat Punjab 25-23, 25-21, 25-17 in a Group B fixture. Services found the going difficult before pocketing the first set.
However, it regrouped to take the second set thanks to Shijas P. Mohammad’s booming hits and T.P. Sarath Kumar and Lijo Joseph’s collective blocking. Services reaped the rewards as Punjab committed countless unforced errors in the third set.
West Bengal and Haryana women also won their respective matches to advance to the last eight.
Men: Group A: Railways bt Rajasthan 25-23, 27-25, 25-20; Haryana bt Rajasthan 16-25, 25-17, 25-22, 25-18.
Group B: Services bt Punjab 25-23, 25-21, 25-17; Group C: Odisha bt Goa 25-13, 25-21, 14-25, 21-25, 15-12; Group D: Puducherry bt Mizoram 25-20, 25-23, 25-22; Jharkhand bt Mizoram 27-25, 16-25, 25-20, 25-20; Delhi bt Puducherry 25-21, 21-25, 25-21, 25-18.
Group E: Bihar bt Madhya Pradesh 27-25, 25-21, 25-22; Andhra Pradesh bt Maharashtra 25-11, 25-16, 25-20; Group F: Chandigarh bt Assam 25-15, 26-24, 25-23; Karnataka bt Himachal Pradesh 25-7, 25-14, 25-12.
Women: Group A: Haryana bt Himachal Pradesh 25-13, 25-17, 25-13; Group B: West Bengal bt Uttar Pradesh 22-25, 26-24, 25-6, 25-19; Kerala bt West Bengal 25-9, 19-25, 25-23, 27-25.
Group C: Gujarat bt Chhattisgarh 28-26, 25-21, 25-12; Group E: Karnataka bt Jharkhand 25-16, 25-15, 25-18; Maharashtra bt Madhya Pradesh 25-14, 25-18, 25-18; Group F: Delhi bt Uttarakhand 26-24, 25-8, 25-16.
Keywords: National volleyball championship