It was a match that pitted the newly-formed Kerala Police women’s team against the country’s champion university. In the end, Kollam, virtually the cops side, was forced to slog to stop a fighting Thrissur at 25-19, 19-25, 24-26, 25-13, 17-15 in the 42nd Kerala State senior volleyball championship at the Panchayat Stadium here on Tuesday evening.
Both teams entered the quarterfinals and the victory helped Kollam top the group while Idukki, which finished at the bottom, made its exit.
In men’s action Kannur pulled off a stunning 23-25, 25-22, 22-25, 25-23, 15-11 victory over the star-studded Ernakulam.
Defending champion Ernakulam had stars like Tom Joseph, the best player at the last Senior National, internationals Vibin M. George, Kiran Philip and former Indian star Kishore Kumar but it was Kannur which walked away with the day’s honours.
Former Kerala youth captain Vivek Kamalakshan and lefthanded Rijesh were outstanding for Kannur in the attack and in the crucial decider, Kannur came up with some solid blocks which stopped Vibin and Tom.
One superb block by Vijesh and Rijesh which thwarted Tom had the crowd on its feet.
Thrissur, with all its girls from Irinjalakuda’s St. Joseph’s College and loaded with Calicut University stars who won the National varsities title recently, used the block to blunt the strong Police attack.
Men: Group C: Kozhikode bt Kasargod 25-17, 25-15, 18-25, 25-9. Group D: Alappuzha bt Thrissur 25-22, 21-25, 23-25, 25-14, 15-6.
Women: Group C: Kollam bt Thrissur 25-19, 19-25, 24-26, 25-13, 17-15; Kollam bt Idukki 25-7, 25-2, 25-7.
Men: Group A: Kannur bt Pathanamthitta 25-18, 25-22, 25-16. Group C: Idukki bt Palakkad 25-11, 25-21, 19-25, 25-20. Group D: Kollam bt Thrissur 25-17, 25-23, 25-20. – Special Correspondent