Karnataka women through to next round
Pune: Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra went a step ahead to qualify for the next phase winning their games in the 54th National senior volleyball championship at the SP College campus here on Friday.
Apart from these three Uttaranchal, another strong outfit because of the presence of players like Asia's best blocker Subba Rao, Abhijit Bhattacharjee, Rathish Nair, Avinash Kumar and setter Kamaraj, is well set in Group A to take the top spot, though it has yet play two matches on Saturday. It takes on Orissa and Andaman, which is here after a long gap, and it is unlikely to be a threat to Uttaranchal.
These four teams are now more or less through to the next stage. Even upsets on Saturday are unlikely to change the equation because they have better set quotient, though Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra dropped a set each on Friday.
Tamil Nadu made a mess of its game in the first set against Jharkhand. Its service and defence were pathetic. Karthikeyan was erratic. Even experienced Sayee Krishnan and Nadarajan were shaky. Coach Venkatesan was furious that the team lost the set badly. It recovered quickly in the second with good serve and block. Shelton Moses, Sundaram blocked effectively in the early stages to set the right tempo. Tamil Nadu's strong jump serve disturbed Jharkhand's first pass. However, Anjesh Kumar and Ranjeet Kumar spiked intelligently to keep Jharkhand in the hunt. But the team was vulnerable to drops and Tamil Nadu exploited it well. Wrapping up the second set quickly Tamil Nadu did not look back and won 20-25, 25-12, 25-16, 25-17 in men's Group C.
Andhra too made a sluggish start against Goa, which scored through some steady block. But once Andhra tightened up its game in the second set it routed Goa 19-25, 25-16, 25-14, 25-18 in Group B.
Karnataka surged ahead well to lead by two sets. Then it became casual and Jammu & Kashmir blocked it out for a brief period to take the third set. But Karnataka came back to win 25-22, 25-18, 21-25, 25-19.
In the women's section Karnataka is through to the next stage. Chandigarh in Group B and Bengal in group C are ahead in the race for the top spot. But Group D may throw up a tie with Delhi, UP and Maharashtra doing well.
Men: Gr. B: Andhra beat Goa 19-25, 25-16, 25-14, 25-18; Punjab beat Bengal 25-23, 25-23, 25-13; HP w/o. Assam.
Gr. C: Chandigarh beat Gujarat 25-20, 25-13, 22-25, 25-18; Tamil Nadu beat Jharkhand 20-25, 25-12, 25-16, 25-17; MP beat Chandigarh 25-23, 22-25, 25-23, 19-25, 15-8; UP beat Jharkhand 25-22, 25-20, 25-17. Gr. D: Karnataka beat Delhi 25-18, 25-12, 25-17.
Gr. D: Karnataka beat J & K 25-22, 25-18, 21-25, 25-19; Delhi beat Maharashtra 26-24, 27-25, 29-27; Chattisgarh beat Bihar30-28, 25-19, 25-14.
Women: Gr. A: Karnataka beat MP 25-8, 25-5, 25-16; Haryana beat Chattisgarh 22-25, 25-19, 26-24, 25-16; MP beat Orissa 25-22, 17-25, 25-17, 25-18.
Gr. B: Chandigarh beat Pondicherry 25-12, 25-12, 25-9; HP w/o. Goa.
Gr. C: Bengal beat Uttaranchal 25-6, 25-6, 25-8; Punjab beat Gujarat 25-13, 25-20, 25-21.
Gr. D: Rajasthan beat UP 25-19, 25-21, 25-20; Delhi beat Maharashtra 25-19, 25-21, 25-20.