The Mahatma Gandhi University and Calicut are bitter rivals on the varsity stage but on Wednesday evening, most of the MGU girls were playing under the Kozhikode banner at the 42nd Kerala State senior volleyball championship here.
With such a strong line-up — nine of its girls had played for the Kottayam-based MGU which finished third at the recent varsities nationals — Kozhikode did not raise a sweat while brushing aside Ernakulam 25-20, 25-11, 25-20 and finish on top of Group ‘B’ at the Panchayat Stadium.
With Kozhikode and Ernakulam assured of quarterfinal berths even before the league game — there were only two teams in their group — the match was a quiet affair for a major part. K.A. Shahana impressed with her jump serves and smashes and she helped the team rake in five consecutive in the second set. The arrival of setter Radhika Rajeev, in place of K.V. Anusha, improved the situation a bit the Ernakulam girls still had trouble handling the Kozhikode captain Fathima Ruksana’s jump serves.
Meanwhile defending champion Thiruvananthapuram, with all its leading ladies from the KSEB, toyed with host Wayanad, winning 25-18, 25-16, 25-15 in Group ‘A’.
There were just two teams in this group too and the match was just to decide the pool leader.
Wayanad is basically the Kerala team which will be playing the junior nationals in a couple of weeks and it was fielded here just to give the side some exposure before the event.
V. Anusha was the lone fighter in the host team, she stood out with her jump serves and in the attack which troubled Thiruvananthapuram to some extent. But for a major part, Wayanad had problems with its first pass which led to a series of errors. Later men’s defending champion Ernakulam, which lost its opener to Kannur on Tuesday night, defeated Pathanamthitta 25-14, 25-12, 25-21 and assured itself of a quarterfinal berth from Group ‘A’, behind pool topper Kannur.
The results (league): Men: Group C: Kasargod bt Idukki 23-25, 25-21, 17-25, 25-21, 15-12.
Women: Group A: Thiruvananthapuram bt Wayanad 25-18, 25-16, 25-15 (both teams enter quarterfinals).
Group B: Kozhikode bt Ernakulam 25-20, 25-11, 25-20 (both in quarterfinals).
Tuesday’s matches: Men: Group B: Thiruvananthapuram bt Malappuram 20-25, 28-26, 25-13, 25-23 (Tvm, Wayanad in quarterfinals).
Group C: Kozhikode bt Palakkad 25-13, 25-21, 25-19 (Kozhikode in quarterfinals).
Group D: Kottayam bt Alappuzha 25-15, 22-25, 25-10, 25-21 (Kottayam, Kollam in quarterfinals).
Group A: Kannur entered quarterfinals after topping Group A.