Chennai Spartans defeated Calicut Heroes 3-0 to win the the inaugural edition of the Pro Volleyball League here on Friday.
The local favourites beat Calicut 15-11, 15-12, 16-14 in the summit clash.League’s top scorer and best spiker Rudy Verhoeff again delivered as he scored 13 points (11 spikes and 2 blocks) for the winners. For Calicut, league’s most valuable player Ajith Lal was the highest scorer with nine points (9 spikes).By virtue of this victory, Chennai Spartans have also qualified for this year’s FIVB Asian Men’s Club Volleyball Championship. Both the teams looked equal in the first set of the match until Chennai went into a three-point lead at 8-5 entering the first Technical Time Out (TTO). Calicut called for a super point immediately after the TTO and converted to close the gap to 7-8. With the crowd support behind them, Chennai established a three-point cushion again at 12-9.
Calicut was trying to make a comeback but the lead was too steep to climb. Verhoeff and Naveen Raja Jacob scored four points each to help Chennai win the set 15-11. Calicut, who hadn’t lost a single match this season, started the second set nervously. Chennai didn’t have to work hard for their first four points as three errors from skipper Vinith and one from Karthik gave the home team a 4-1 lead. But Calicut’s star spiker Lal took matters in his hands, getting the visitors three spike points to reduce the deficit to 3-5.
For Chennai, Verhoeff was in the form of his life as he scored his 100th point in the league when his side took a 9-6 lead. At 10-8 Calicut called for a super point and converted it with a Karthik spike. Immediately, Chennai called for one and Verhoeff didn’t make any mistake to bring back a two-point lead for his side at 12-10. Spike from Lal and service error from Jacob got Calicut at 12-13 but Chennai wasn’t letting this slip and Verhoeff, this time with a block, put them 2-0 up in the match. Calicut continued to look rusty as they gifted Chennai four of the first eight points as the local team went into TTO with an 8-5 lead. Chennai too gave away two of the first five points to Calicut on errors but they looked a better side going into TTO. It wasn’t to be post TTO as Chennai made two more errors allowing Calicut to find their groove. For the first time in the set, Calicut took lead at 11-8. Trailing 10-13, Chennai decided to take matters in their hand. Two blocks and one spike by Akhin and a service point from local boy Jacob took Chennai to match point at 14-13. Lal levelled it for Calicut at 14-14 but Vinith conceded two errors in the end to give away the match and the title to Chennai.