The Ahmedabad Defenders defeated Kochi Blue Spikers 15-14, 15-14, 11-15, 14-15, 15-10 to top the league standings at the end of the preliminary stage in the RuPay Prime Volleyball League at the Gachibowli Indoor Stadium here on Tuesday. The Defenders, who picked up 10 points in the league stage, also knocked the Blue Spikers out of the tournament.
The Ahmedabad Defenders, Calicut Heroes, Hyderabad Black Hawks and the Kolkata Thunderbolts will fight it out in the knockout stage of Prime Volleyball. Ahmedabad Defenders' Shon T John was adjudged the Player of the Match.
Ahmedabad Defenders' captain Muthusamy pulled off a fantastic spike as the Defenders took the lead at 6-4 in the first set. But, the Blue Spikers fought hard through Cody Caldwell and levelled the scores at 10-10.
Thereafter, both sides kept winning points in tandem and were locked at 14-14. However, the Defenders drew first blood after Erin Varghese missed a crucial serve for the Blue Spikers.
Shon T John showed his brilliance as the Defenders held the edge at 8-7 in the second set. Thereafter, Angamuthu carried out a fantastic spike as the Defenders continued to hold the lead. However, Caldwell produced a brilliant smash to level the scores at 13-13. But, the Defenders held their nerve and closed out the second set at 15-14 to take a 2-0 lead in the match.
Varghese effected a fabulous smash and Captain Karthik produced a Super Serve as the Blue Spikers took a massive lead at 7-2 in the third set. Deepesh Kumar Sinha also carried out a brilliant spike as Kochi continued to forge ahead. Kochi rode on the momentum and eventually wrapped up the third set at 15-11 to get on board.
Varghese carried out a spectacular serve as the Blue Spikers took the lead at 8-5 in the fourth set. Skipper Karthik also stood tall as Kochi kept their noses in front at 11-8. Santhosh pulled off two brilliant smashes to keep the Defenders in the contest, but Varghese's fabulous spike helped the Blue Spikers close out the fourth set at 15-14 and make it two sets all.
The Defenders regained the momentum and took a four-point lead at 10-6 in the final set. Rodrigo Villalboa effected a fabulous spike as the Defenders continued to forge ahead. Angamuthu's magnificent block helped the Defenders win a Super Point and dominate the fifth set at 13-7. Ahmedabad eventually wrapped up the fifth set at 15-10 to register a 3-2 victory.
The Ahmedabad Defenders registered their fifth victory in six matches in the RuPay Prime Volleyball League.
The Kolkata Thunderbolts will take on Kochi Blue Spikers in the next match on Wednesday.