KSEB went through to yet another final, but it was made to work hard by the girls from SAI (Thalassery) for its 25-15, 23-25, 25-22, 25-18 victory in the opening semifinal of the State inter-club volleyball championship at the Municipal Stadium here on Friday night.

SAI was always going to be the one team capable of stretching KSEB, the superpower in Kerala women’s volleyball.

The Thiruvananthapuram side eventually won what has been one of the better-contested matches in the women’s event in 72 minutes.

When KSEB won the opening set, without giving much of a chance to its younger rival, it may have entertained hopes of an easier passage, especially with Tiji Raju, skipper M.J. Alphonsa and P.V. Sheeba running into early form with some powerful smashes.

But SAI roared back into the match, with a superb display in the second set as Elizabeth Paul, C.C. Athira and skipper M.S. Poornima ensured that KSEB would not win in straight sets, as they blocked and smashed with conviction.

SAI fought hard in the third set and had its chances, but KSEB’s class and experience began to tell, and it became even more evident in the fourth set, in which again Tiji was unstoppable with her smashes.

P.P. Reshma, P.J. Jomol and setter N. Sruthi Mol played their parts too for the champion side.

Thursday’s late results:

Men (preliminary league): Pool ‘A’: BPCL bt Cochin Port Trust 25-17, 25-22, 22-25, 25-21.

Pool ‘B’: Kerala Police bt KSEB 25-20, 22-25, 25-18, 19-25, 21-19.

SNGC posts win

At Chelannur, Host Sree Narayana Guru College (SNGC) defeated Kochi’s Sacred Heart 25-14, 25-19, 25-18 and maintained its lead in the Champions Volleyball League for colleges here on Friday.

Sheharas won the ‘best player’ award.

In the other matches, host Mar Athanasius defeated Pathanapuram’s St. Stephen’s 25-20, 22-25, 25-18, 25-22 (best player: St. Stephen’s Rahul).

It moved to the second spot on the table.

Aruvithura’s St. George beat Mannanam’s Kuriakose Elias 25-23, 25-22, 25-0.

More In: SPORT | Today's Paper