St. Joseph’s College, Irinjalakuda, put up a brave fight, but that was never going to be enough against KSEB, as the reigning champion showed its class at the State inter-club volleyball championship at the Municipal Stadium here on Thursday night.

KSEB won 25-19, 25-19, 25-16, in just 50 minutes, to finish on top of Pool ‘A’. St. Joseph’s also reached the semifinals despite the loss. In the semifinals, KSEB will take on SAI, Thalassery, one of the better-equipped teams here to take on the champion, while St. Joseph’s will meet Kerala Police.

The semifinalists have also been identified in the men’s section, with holder BPCL and Cochin Port Trust making the grade from Pool ‘A’ and Kerala Police and KSEB from Pool ‘B’.

KSEB’s women’s team was a delight to watch on Thursday night, especially its setter N. Sruthi Mol. The tall, graceful Sruthi had an outstanding game, not just as a setter, a role in which she excelled alright. But she was there to block and to spike, regularly; she was by far the hardest-working girl on court.

Sruthi may have outshone her teammates, but they too delivered, with P.J. Jomol, whose lethal smashes in the second set knocked the stuffing out of the college girls, P.V. Sheeba, Jiji Raju, P.P. Reshma and M.J. Alphonsa all playing their parts well.

As for St. Joseph’s, virtually the team that won the All-India inter-university women’s championship for Calicut recently, it tried hard and had begun promisingly as it didn’t allow KSEB to run away with a big lead in the opening set.

But once the defending champion found its rhythm, there was not much Mithu Monica, Asha Stenny and their teammates could do.

Wednesday’s late results: Men (preliminary league): Pool ‘A’: BPCL bt SAI (Kozhikode) 28-26, 23-25, 25-20, 25-21; Cochin Port Trust bt Indian Army 20-25, 25-17, 25-19, 26-28, 16-14. Pool ‘B’: KSEB bt Cochin Customs 21-25, 25-19, 25-17, 25-21.

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