Bengaluru: Chennai Blitz picked up a stunning victory over the Kochi Blue Spikers in their first game of the Season 2 of the RuPay Prime Volleyball League powered by A23 at the Koramangala Stadium in Bengaluru, Karnataka on Tuesday. In a match that went right down to the wire, Chennai came out victorious, winning the match 15-9, 11-15, 15-10, 8-15, 15-9. With this win, Chennai Blitz gained two points in the tournament. Naveen Raja Jacob was named as the Player of the Match.
The match started as Chennai Blitz earned the opening point with Renato Mendes' powerful spike. A minute later, with another tremendous strike, Renato earned the second point for Chennai. Three consecutive serve errors from the Blitz allowed Kochi Blue Spikers to equalise, but Y V Sita Rama Raju's block allowed the yellow brigade to regain their lead. Using his long height, Dushyanth sent a tap over the net to reduce the gap for the Spikers. With a super point on offer, Blitz made an error further giving the Blues two crucial points. But fantastic blocks from skipper Naveen Raja Jacob ensured Chennai keep up their lead, and after a missed tap from Kochi, the Blitz took the first set 15-9.
Trailing by a set, Kochi showcased their intent as they earned the first point in the second set with Dushyanth's perfect block. Vipul Kumar, with a vicious strike, earned another point for Spikers as they took a 3-0 lead in the set. Just when it looked like Kochi will sail through, Kevin Audran Noumbissi Moyo struck a powerful smash to get the Blitz a crucial point.
Captain Naveen's spike stunned Kochi as Chennai reduced the gap to 7-8. Dushyanth's block went wayward and the Blitz levelled the scoreline in the set. Rohit Kumar's block gave Kochi Blue Spikers back-to-back super points, after which Raman Kumar's erroneous serve gave Kochi a 15-11 win in the second set.
Moyo's smash earned Blitz the first point in the third set. A minute later, a super serve from skipper Naveen gave Blitz a four-point lead in the set, putting pressure on the opposition. Rohit's monstrous smash reduced the deficit for Kochi. With a left-handed spike, Vipul earned another crucial point for Kochi, but Akhin's tap over the net ensured Chennai remain ahead on points. Erin Varghese's block gave Spikers a crucial point, but a moment later, Jibin's shot landed outside with a super point on offer, and Chennai gained a five-point lead. Naveen smashed the ball with bullet-like speed on the opposition's end and Chennai moved closer to set point. Abhinav's serve struck the net and the Blitz won the set 15-10 to take a 2-1 lead in the match.
Renato's supreme form of the night continued as he struck two powerful smashes to give Chennai Blitz an opening in the fourth set. But Rohit's spike, followed by a beautiful block from Walter da Cruz Neto gave Kochi Blue Spikers a two-point lead in the set. Akhin puton a block of his own to bring Chennai back to level pegging. Erin's tap over the net gave Kochi an 8-5 lead as pressure increased on the team in yellow.
As Naveen's ambitious shot landed outside, Kochi extended their lead by five points. With two consecutive spikes, Mohamed Riyazudeen reduced the deficit. As Chennai called for the Super Points, Erin's spike gave Kochi two crucial points, and he followed it up with another delicious hit to win the set 15-8 for his team, pushing the match to the final set.
The fifth set began with a faulty serve from Erin as Chennai Blitz gained an easy point. But Vipul equalised straight away with a spike, showcasing his aggressive intent. With a thunderous spike, Erin gave Kochi the lead in the final set. Sita Rama's tap turned the momentum as the Blitz took lead in the set. Erin mistimed his spike and struck the ball on the net as the Blitz took an 8-5 lead in the set.
With a wayward block from Kochi's Vipul, Chennai Blitz received another freebie. Unforced errors continued to frustrate Kochi's bench as Chennai inched closer to winning. With a super point on offer, Naveen made a powerful serve to which Kochi had no answer. As Kochi made another faulty serve, Chennai Blitz won the final set 15-9 to win the match 3-2.