Y.B. Sarangi

GWALIOR: Captain M. Pravin Kumar rose to the occasion to help Orissa thwart a late challenge from Goa and win its Group E match 25-17, 25-13, 25-20 on the inaugural day of the 58th National volleyball championship at the Laxmibai National University of Physical Education (LNUPE) courts here on Monday.

Exhibiting better coordination among them, the taller Orissa players took advantage of their height for a 2-0 lead. However, Goa put up a brave fight in the third set to equal the scores (16-16) at one stage.

As the Goans gave close chase, the lanky Pravin Kumar took the responsibility on his shoulders and blocked superbly to see Orissa through in straight sets in 55 minutes.

The Goa spikers could not keep up the tempo as they committed several unforced errors with Orissa inching towards victory.

Orissa coach Ajay Kumar Tripathy was all praise for his captain. “All credit to Pravin for this win. Goa had made a good comeback, but he prevented them well in the third set,” Tripathy said.

In a Group C women’s encounter, Punjab survived a scare to beat Himachal Pradesh 11-25, 25-20, 25-23, 25-21.

After going down tamely in the first set, Punjab showed a lot of grit to scrape through in a battle lasting nearly one-and-a-half hours.

The results: Men: Group C: Gujarat bt Jammu and Kashmir 25-20, 25-20, 25-17; Chhattisgarh bt Andaman and Nicobar 25-8, 25-8, 25-12; West Bengal bt Jharkhand 25-19, 26-24, 25-20: Group D: Himachal Pradesh bt Madhya Pradesh 25-19, 25-21, 25-23; Chandigarh bt Assam 25-22, 25-21, 20-25, 25-20; Group E: Orissa bt Goa 25-17, 25-13, 25-20; Group F: Delhi bt Rajasthan 21-25, 17-25, 25-22, 25-13, 15-12; Bihar w/o Puducherry.

Women: Group C: Punjab bt Himachal Pradesh 11-25, 25-20, 25-23, 25-21; Mizoram w/o Goa; Madhya Pradesh bt Bihar 25-1, 25-8, 25-7; Delhi bt Uttarakhand 25-12, 25-19, 25-10; Group D: Haryana bt Rajasthan 25-19, 25-15, 25-18; Jharkhand bt Orissa 25-7, 25-11, 25-12; Group E: Chhattisgarh bt Gujarat 25-12, 25-7, 25-15; Uttar Pradesh w/o Puducherry.

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