Tamil Nadu women beat Karnataka to take the second spot in Group ‘A’

Railways saved itself the blushes as it beat Haryana 25-15, 25-19, 27-25 in the last league match in group ‘A’ of the men’s section in the 61st National volleyball championship at the Sawai Man Singh Indoor Stadium here on Thursday.

Railways’ first win after the defeats to Kerala and Tamil Nadu helped the 13-time national champion secure its berth in the quarterfinals, behind the two leaders who were yet to meet to decide the group topper. After its third defeat, Haryana will have to go through the pre-quarterfinals against the teams emerging from the lower league. Railways raced away with the first two sets, with sharp smashes, rock-solid blocks and deft drops while Haryana struggled.

There was a semblance of a fight in the third set when Haryana held two game points, but Railways stepped it up, with Sudarshan Varma and Manu Joseph blocking efficiently to secure the last two points. Poor serving was Haryana’s Achilles heel as it often lost the initiative after taking control. In trying to assert itself, the team failed to play sensibly game to suit the situation. Railways was far more flexible in approach and efficient in execution.

Punjab men through

In the other, more dramatic group in the men’s section, Punjab scored an impressive victory over Karnataka in five sets to confirm its quarterfinal berth.

Punjab blocked like a rock to blunt its opponent and smashed with a flourish, particularly in the end, to clinch its second victory in three matches.

In the women’s section, P. Narmadha and L. Jennifer stood out as Tamil Nadu beat Karnataka in straight sets.

It was the second victory for Tamil Nadu, ensuring it the second place in the group, and entry into the knock-out phase.

With Himachal Pradesh recording a marathon five-set victory over Uttar Pradesh in group ‘B’, Tamil Nadu is also sure of meeting Uttar Pradesh in the quarterfinals.

With Karnataka finishing at the bottom with three defeats, Andhra Pradesh is also virtually assured of the third place in group ‘A’.

In the other group, West Bengal, with two defeats, is already looking down the barrel.

The results (league):

Men: Group A: Railways bt Haryana 25-15, 25-19, 27-25. Group-B: Punjab bt Karnataka 17-25, 25-17, 22-25, 25-16, 15-13. Group E: Odisha bt Bihar 26-24, 25-21, 25-22; Rajasthan bt Mizoram 25-10, 25-10, 25-16.

Women: Group A: Tamil Nadu bt Karnataka 25-22, 25-22, 25-19. Group-B: Himachal Pradesh bt U.P. 19-25, 25-21, 23-25, 25-23, 15-12. Group C: Haryana bt Odisha 27-25, 25-20, 25-19, 17-25, 15-12. Group E: Jharkhand bt Uttarakhand 25-12, 25-8, 25-14; MP bt Chandigarh 25-18, 27-25, 27-29, 25-23. Group F: Chhattisgarh bt Bihar 25-19, 25-15, 25-11.

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