He­roes in playoffs

Ajith­lal does the star turn

The Hindu - - SPORT - Stan Rayan Spar­tans, 7 p.m.

Olympian Paul Lot­man had spo­ken about how his team ap­plies ser­vice pres­sure on op­po­nents af­ter de­mol­ish­ing Kochi Blue Spik­ers on Satur­day night.

Calicut He­roes was at it again on Sun­day as it thrashed Black Hawks Hy­der­abad for a fourth straight vic­tory in the six-team RuPay Pro Vol­ley­ball League at the Ra­jiv Gandhi in­door sta­dium and con­firmed a semi­fi­nal berth.

While cap­tain Jerome Vinith sparkled in their pre­vi­ous game, at­tacker C. Ajith­lal was the He­roes’ hero on Sun­day, es­pe­cially in the open­ing set, where he pro­duced three su­per points, one with an ace ser­vice and later with two smashes.

The scores were level at eight and 10 but Ajith­lal’s su­per show helped the side pull away.

Rarely does a team at­tempt a su­per point when it leads 10-8 as it would be very risky. But the He­roes did just that in the sec­ond set and the gam­ble paid off with Jerome com­ing up with a hard smash from the right which left the Hawks’ back court wob­bling.

The He­roes also came up with a strong block with Congo’s tall Il­louni Ngam­pourou, A. Karthik and Paul keep­ing the Hawks’ dan­ger­man Ash­wal Rai at bay fre­quently and their serves played havoc with their op­po­nent’s first passes.

While Paul was the star of the sec­ond set, the third was a close af­fair. The Hawks set up a soft block for Jerome and with the back­court sup­port­ing it, they drew level at seven. But the He­roes pinned their ri­vals at this score as Naveen Ku­mar’s su­per serve and Ajith­lal’s su­per point helped them take a win­ning 3-0 lead.

The re­sult: Calicut He­roes bt Black Hawks Hy­der­abad 15-11, 15-11, 15-7, 12-15, 11-15. Mon­day’s match: Spik­ers v


Smash­ing suc­cess: Calicut He­roes’ C. Ajith­lal, left, was in great form against Black Hawks Hy­der­abad.

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