Defending champions Tamil Nadu (men) and Railways (women) began their 69th senior National volleyball campaign on a winning note at the Balbir Juneje Indoor Stadium here on Thursday.

Tamil Nadu found its rhythm immediately to outplay Karnataka 3-0 in Group A while the Railway women won by an identical margin against Himachal Pradesh in Group A.

The Tamil Nadu women were not as lucky, however, as last year's semifinalist West Bengal tamed Tamil Nadu in three games in an 80-minute contest.

Uttarakhand, which also reached the semifinals last year, looked out of sorts in its Group A game against Haryana and went down 3-1.

The team arrived late for the encounter and showed little understanding throughout the match.

In full flow

Tamil Nadu was very impressive against Karnataka. With setter M. Ukkarapandian in full flow, spikers N. Shelton Moses, G. Pradeep and captain Naveen Raja Jacob came up with some telling smashes to overpower their opponent.

Karnataka was left gaping as the Tamil Nadu spikers constantly changed the angle to expose its defence. Tamil Nadu won 25-16, 25-19, 25-22 in 64 minutes.

The West Bengal women, fielding a few Railway discards, proved to be a more consistent team.

Despite West Bengal's poor blocking, the Tamil Nadu women failed to exploit the situation. They gave away a number of negative points with aimless smashing and poor anticipation in the backcourt.

The results:

Men: Group A: TN bt Karnataka 25-16, 25-19, 25-22; Haryana bt Uttarakhand 25-22, 25-23, 20-25, 25-17.

Group B: Kerala bt Punjab 25-22, 27-25, 25-22.

Women: Group A: Railways bt HP 25-15, 25-14, 25-14; West Bengal bt Tamil Nadu 25-20, 25-19, 25-19.

Group B: AP bt Karnataka 11-25, 25-22, 30-28, 12-15, 18-16.

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