PVL: Calicut Heroes begin campaign with thrilling win over Mumbai Meteors

Players of Calicut Heroes celebrate a point against Mumbai Meteors in the PVL. Photo: PVL

Bengaluru: Calicut Heroes pipped the debutants Mumbai Meteors on Sunday in their first game of the second season of Prime Volleyball League.

Before a jam-packed crowd at the Koramangala Indoor Stadium in Bengaluru, Karnataka, the Heroes won 10-15, 15-9, 15-8, 15-14, 15-11 to take two points. Jose Antonio Sandoval was named as the Player of the Match.

Mumbai Meteors began with two quick points as Hiroshi Centelles put on consecutive perfect blocks to give his team an early lead. Jose Antonio Sandoval, with a deft touch over the net, put the ball in no man's land on the opposition's end as the Heroes earned their first point of the game.

Minutes later, Brandon Greenway sent a powerful serve to which Heroes skipper Matt Hilling found no answer. Shameemudheen's spike led to Mumbai extending their lead to 10-6 in the first set. With a super point on offer, Meteors made an error on the serve to give away two points to Calicut. But Meteors maintained their composure and with a spike from Anu James, the debutants won the first set 15-10.

The Meteors kept control of the momentum in the second set as well picking up the first point. But Calicut's Sandoval tapped the ball over the net to get things back on level pegging. With a fantastic super serve, Jerome Vinith put Heroes ahead to put pressure back on the opposition. With a powerful spike, Sandoval stunned Mumbai and put Calicut ahead with a 9-7 lead in the second set.

With a super point on offer, Meteors' Hiroshi made an error allowing Heroes to further extend their lead. A block from M Ashwin Raj took Calicut with a touching distance of win in the second set. As Hiroshi's serve struck the nets, Calicut Heroes won the second set 15-9.

Having found their rhythm, Calicut Heroes took an early lead in the third set, as Asham A put his team ahead with a solid block. Sandoval struck a powerful spike to further keep the Kerala side ahead in the set. Just when it looked like Heroes will take a comfortable lead, Brandon's spike earned Mumbai a crucial point in the set. But Shafeeque Rahman and Ashwin's dual spikes ensured Calicut keep their lead at the break in the set. Having been put under pressure, Mumbai kept committing errors, allowing freebies to the opposition. Sandoval put on a picture-perfect block with super point on offer, as Calicut won the third set 15-8 to take lead in the match.

Sandoval's supreme form continued in the night in the second last set as he trapped the opposition with gorgeous blocks. Hiroshi's block earned Mumbai a crucial point. A wayward spike from Anu gave away an easy point to Calicut. But a successful review call reduced deficit for Mumbai in the set. Shameem's erroneous serve increased Calicut's lead to 9-5 in the set.

Winning the super point, followed by Karthik's super serve, Mumbai Meteors opened up doors for a comeback. Sandoval came up with a delicious tap to get Calicut a crucial point as things began to get heated at the Koramangala Indoor Stadium. A deft touch from Ashwin brought Calicut Heroes to the match point, and Mohan Ukkrapandian put on a block to win the game for his team.

In the final set, a deflated Meteors made consecutive errors to allow Calicut to take the lead. Sandoval only continued to become more threatening as the game progressed and he put Heroes three-points ahead with a powerful spike in the fifth set.

Vinith earned a stunning point with a monstrous serve for Calicut. Mumbai Meteors made the basic error of getting four touches on the ball as Heroes extended their lead to 10-5. Winning the super point, the Mumbai side reduced the gap, after which skipper Karthik put on a fantastic block to get another point for his side. But Calicut kept their composure and closed the set at 15-11, winning the match 4-1.

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