Ahmedabad enters PVL final for second consecutive season
KOCHI: Ahmedabad Defenders entered the Prime Volleyball League final for the second consecutive year with a stunning 17-15, 9-15, 17-15, 15-11 win over Calicut Heroes at the Regional Sports Centre here on Saturday.
Ahmedabad, which had gone down to Kolkata Thunderbolts in the inaugural edition’s summit clash, will face Bengaluru Torpedoes in the Season 2 final. In the second semi-final, Ahmedabad’s R Angamuthu was named the ‘Player of the Match’.
Falah, who replaced the injured Matt Hilling in the Calicut squad, made his presence felt straightaway by earning the first point. With skipper A Muthusamy setting up his attackers, especially Angamuthu, with perfect passes, Ahmedabad remained in the contest.
Just when it looked like S Nandhagopal might edge Ahmedabad ahead, Jerome Vinith came to the party and broke the Defenders defence. But, the Ahmedabad team maintained its composure, and with Iranian Danial Motazedi making a difference from the middle, it pushed itself ahead in the last-four match.
At the start of the second set, Jerome duped Ahmedabad with a soft serve and earned two points to create an opening for Calicut. Jose Antonio Sandoval put a monster block on LM Manoj as Heroes put pressure on Ahmedabad. Falah chipped in from the service line and Calicut levelled the score 1-1.
Fast and furious spikes from Falah kept Calicut in control, as Mohan Ukkrapandian led the charge as the playmaker. But, attacks from Santhosh kept Ahmedabad in good spirits and closed down the gap. Danial tricked Calicut’s defence with smart drop shots, and with Heroes making one error too many, Ahmedabad took control of the match.
Manoj started making an impact late in the match and Calicut suddenly found itself completely on the back foot. Angamuthu earned points for Ahmedabad with attacking play, while Sandoval’s blocks remained futile.
By winning back-to-back ‘Super Points’, Ahmedabad sealed the win to earn a ticket to the final on Sunday.
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