Uttarakhand bounced back in style to beat Karnataka 25-12, 23-25, 18-25, 25-22, 15-10 in a men’s Group ‘B’ match of the Federation Cup volleyball at the Rajiv Gandhi indoor stadium, Pramadom, near here on Sunday.
Dictated by errors from both the sides, the opening tie of the eight day event, which got underway a good 150 minutes later than the original schedule, was certainly not one which brought high quality volleyball to the fore.
The first set was virtually a wash out as Uttarakhand opened up in brilliant fashion and seemed to do no wrong. With the combine of Rahul and Lalith at the net baulking the rival attack effortlessly and Guru Chand Singh controlling the backcourt effectively, it enjoyed complete supremacy jumping ahead into an early lead and then holding it continuously to take the set 25-12 in 17 minutes.
The failure of Anup D’Costa and Vinayak Rokhade in the block and the equal disaster that it faced behind was what cost Karnataka the first set. However, into the second, there was a sea change in its fortunes as Naveen Kumar brought order at the net and Karthik and Sujith took the fight to the rival camp.
Uttarakhand was caught on the back foot and with the side committing far too many errors, Karnataka was able to run its rival close.
The scores were thus tied at several stages before Karnataka found the decisive edge at 17-all. Working slowly on the nerves of its rivals, the side pulled away but not enough to breathe easily as Uttarkhand clawed its way back to narrow the lead. This was made possible by Sukhvinder Singh bringing in a whiff of fresh for Uttarakhand coming in as substitute to a tiring Mandeep.
Yet, Karnataka held on to its lead as it stopped the progress of its rival at 23-22 and then went on to level the match, winning the set for the loss of only one more point at 25-23 in 24 minutes.
The third set was a repeat of the second in many ways. The scores were close or tied in the initial stages and into the mid-phase before Karnataka surged ahead brilliantly, thanks to the timely form shown by Sujith, Karthik and Naveen Kumar.
The Southern State expectedly took the set at 25-18 and continued to torment Uttarakhand at the start of the fourth. Here again the lead changed hands until Uttarakhand seemed to find its touch yet again and then jumped into a five point lead at 12-7. The change in fortunes of the side was dictated by the cohesion shown by the trio of Rathish Nair, Ranjith Singh and Guru Chand at the net which seemed to push the Karnataka offence into oblivion.
However, Karnataka was not to give up easily at it fought its way back through the efforts of Naveen and Vinayak before cutting down the Uttarakhand lead to 20-19.
But an unforced defensive error and a wild shot by Anup helped Uttarakhand to hold advantage and then tie the match at 25-22 with Mandeep providing the finishing touches.
Uttarakhand looked to be in control through the early phase of the decider albeit holding a slender lead all through. But Karnataka was not to be written off easily as it stayed in contention and even tied the scores once at 10-all.
Uttarakhand held on valiantly and sailed through.
Later in the second and final match of the day, Services began its campaign in men’s Group A on a winning note by defeating Rajasthan 25-23, 25-21, 25-23.
The match lasted just an hour and 10 minutes as the Army men withstood a tight defence employed by its rival in all the three sets.