Kochi, February 2nd 2019: Much to the delight of Kochi volleyball fans, Kochi Blue Spikers lit up the Day 1 of the RuPay Pro Volleyball League beating U Mumba Volley 4-1. After a quick opening ceremony which featured all the six team captains and Olympics Silver Medalist badminton player PV Sindhu taking the pledge, the action on court took over the 2000+ spectators present at the Rajiv Gandhi Indoor Stadium here on Saturday.
Led by Manu Joseph’s 15 points (14 spikes and one block), Kochi registered a 15-11, 15-13, 15-8, 15-10, 5-15 score line to register their first win. For U Mumba, Nicholas Del Bianco was the highest scorer with ten points (9 spikes and 1 block).
Kochi took the initiative in the first set. Kochi’s star player David Lee looked pepped with the massive crowd support getting points through spikes, blocks and serves in the first set. At the first technical time out (TTO) Kochi led by 8-5 and continued to dominate both in defence and attack taking two consecutive points to go up by 10-5. U Mumba Volley tried to make a comeback but Kochi kept the pressure on and finished off the set by 15-11. For Kochi, Manu Joseph was the highest scorer in first set scoring five points.
The second set looked more even as U Mumba Volley started showing better coordination in defence and attack as scores were tied at 6-6. But Kochi picked up the pace from there on and quickly moved to 10-6 courtesy some brilliant service and attacking play. U Mumba called for a super point at 10-7 and won the same to draw closer at 9-10. Kochi immediately called for a super point but didn’t win as they missed the service giving away two points to their opponents. Kochi then took four points giving away just one to seal the second at 15-13.
The third set had a similar script as Kochi continued from where they left in the previous set. Their defence and attack both looked superior to U Mumba’s as Kochi raced to a 15-8 win. After having lost three sets on the trot, U Mumba couldn’t find momentum. Manu Joseph, Andrej Patuc and Prabagaran S lined up some brilliant spikes at crucial junctures for Kochi took the set 15-10 and take a 4-0 lead looking for a whitewash and a bonus point with it.
But U Mumba had different plans. They finally found their groove in the last set led by Nicholas Del Bianco’s attack with spikes at 1-0, 2-0 and 4-1 to give U Mumba a three-point cushion. The Deepesh Sinha-led side raced to 8-2 at the TTO and eventually won the final set, a consolation at 15-5.
Calicut Heroes will take on Chennai Spartans on February 3rd 2019. It will be broadcast Live and Exclusive on SONY SIX and SONY TEN 3 and will be streamed live on SONY LIV 7:00 PM IST.
RuPay player of the match: Mohan Ukkrapandian.