Chennai: U Mumba Volley defeated Chennai Spartans 3-2 (15-14, 15-8, 15-10, 10-15, 10-15) in the opening match of the Chennai leg of the Pro Volleyball League here Saturday to keep its hopes of a semifinal spot alive.
Skipper Dipesh Sinha was the top scorer for U Mumba with 11 points (5 spikes, 2 blocks and 4 serves) and helped the team post its first win. For the Spartans, Rudy Verhoeff equalled his individual points record of 20 in a match (14 spikes and 6 serves) but ended up on the losing side.
It was a hard-fought battle as both teams knew it was a crucial game and didn’t allow the other any leeway. Chennai Spartans got the first advantage as they went into the first Technical Time Out (TTO) with a spike from Rudy Verhoeff at 8-7.
Chennai looked in a good rhythm after that as they mounted a 13-8 lead with the help of Naveen Raja Jacobs Super Serve. U Mumba called for a Super Point at 8-13 and won the same. It was the start of a comeback. At 14-10, it looked like Chennai would win the set. But, U Mumba astonishingly turned the tide in its favour by bagging five consecutive points at the fag end. The late surge helped it settle things at 15-14 and gave it a 1-0 lead.
U Mumba came out all guns blazing in the second set and opened up a 4-0 lead. Skipper Dipesh Sinha, Vinit Kumar and Coskovic did bulk of the scoring and the set ended 15-8 in their favour as they took a 2-0 lead.
In the third set, it seemed like a similar story but Chennai wasn’t going down easily. From 2-6 down, Chennai closed the gap to 6-7 when a Super Serve by Verhoeff gave them the advantage of entering the TTO. At 9-11, Chennai called for a Super Point but failed to convert. U Mumba finally won the set 15-10 and obtained an unassailable 3-0 lead in the match.
Chennai Spartans then played for the Set difference points and in the penultimate set, an 8-6 lead for U- Mumbai made them the favourites to clinch the set but at 7-9 Chennai called for a Super Point and converted to level the score. Chennai finally opened their account in the match winning the fourth set 15-10. Chennai finally got hold of the momentum and cruised past the visitors in the final set with an identical scoreline of 15-10 but U Mumbai had the last laugh.