Uttarakhand relied on its experienced spikers to hold off an energetic Punjab, while Tamil Nadu tested its reserves in its win over Services in the men’s competition of 62nd National volleyball championship here on Monday.

In the biggest battle of the day, title-holder Kerala rallied to beat a formidable Railways 22-25, 26-24, 18-25, 25-21, 15-13.

Uttarakhand, Tamil Nadu and Kerala booked their berths in the quarterfinals after recording two wins each.

Uttarakhand held its own as it beat Punjab 25-21, 25-21, 25-20. Led by Rajbir Singh Bassi, Punjab blocked superbly and countered Uttarakhand’s attackers.

Captain Gurinder Singh delivered some jumping smashes as Punjab matched its opponent point by point.

Uttarakhand captain Mandeep Singh was effective with his attacks from the front right position. Tamil Nadu recorded a 25-18, 25-18, 27-25 victory over Services.

Last year’s finalist faced some problems while trying out three younger players in the third set. However, coach P. Sundaram made timely substitutions to prevent the match from stretching further.

Railways banked on the outstanding work of its central blocker Karan Choudhary and setter K.J. Kapil Dev to take the first set and torment Kerala.

However, the defending champion hung in and amended its game to win a cliff-hanger in two hours and four minutes.

In the women’s section, Railways, Tamil Nadu and Kerala registered their second victory to reach the quarterfinals.

The results:

Men: Group A: Haryana bt Rajasthan 16-25, 25-17, 25-22, 25-18; Uttarakhand bt Punjab 25-21, 25-21, 25-20; Kerala bt Railways 22-25, 26-24, 18-25, 25-21, 15-13. Group B: Tamil Nadu bt Services 25-18, 25-18, 27-25. Group C: Chhattisgarh bt Odisha 25-20, 25-15, 25-17; Group D: Delhi bt Mizoram 25-19, 25-23, 25-18; Jammu and Kashmir bt Jharkhand 27-29, 24-26, 25-20, 27-25, 15-11.

Group E: Andhra Pradesh bt Bihar 25-17, 25-19, 25-16; West Bengal bt Madhya Pradesh 25-18, 27-25, 25-19. Group F: Karnataka bt Assam 25-16, 25-16, 25-13; Gujarat bt Chandigarh 25-18, 25-21, 22-25, 25-21.

Women: Group A: Railways bt Himachal Pradesh 25-6, 25-9, 25-9; Tamil Nadu bt Haryana 20-25, 25-22, 33-31, 25-18. Group B: Kerala bt West Bengal 25-9, 19-25, 25-23, 27-25; Uttar Pradesh bt Andhra Pradesh 25-17, 25-27, 29-27, 25-16.

Group C: Punjab bt Bihar 25-11, 25-10, 25-5. Group F: Rajasthan bt Delhi 25-16, 25-23, 16-25, 25-10.

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