Chennai Spartans emerged inaugural champions in the RuPay Pro Volleyball League at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai on Friday after they put it across fancied Calicut Heroes in straight sets – 15-11, 15-12 and 16-14. Spirited Spartans took early control of the final to hand league table toppers Heroes their first defeat in the competition after the Chennai outfit had lost their league meeting 1-4. Spartans displayed once again that they possess that element of surprise which makes them dangerous, especially in crunch clashes. After having qualified to the Playoffs as the third team with only two wins to their name, Spartans put it across Kochi Blue Spikers 3-2 in the semifinal after being down 1-2.
On Friday, Heroes didn’t know what hit them, with Spartans sealing the deal even as the Kerala outfit were finding their feet.Rudy Verhoeff and Naveen Raja Jacob played a key role in the win. The pair scored four points each to help Spartans win the opening set. Canada’s Verhoeff scored seven points in the second set including a Super point, as a packed home crowd egged on the Spartans.
Naveen Raja Jacob, Verhoeff and Ruslans Sorokins scored to hand the home side an 8-5 lead before the Heroes levelled and took an 11-8 lead. However, Naveen Raja Jacob and Akhin GS scored three points each as the hosts closed out the set with a difference of two after the teams levelled at 14. Spartans belong to the House of KALS, a passionate and committed corporate entity that has been involved in developing volleyball in Tamil Nadu for over three decades.