U Mumba books semi-final berth

Chennai: U Mumba booked a place in the semi-finals of the Pro Volleyball league after a clinical 4-1 (10-15, 15-12, 15-13, 15-12, 15-8) victory over Ahmedabad Defenders in their last league game at Jawaharlal Nehru
Indoor Stadium, here on Monday.

The Mumba outfit became the fourth team to enter the playoffs after Calicut Heroes, Kochi Blue Spikers and Chennai Spartans. Though U Mumba and Hyderabad Black Hawks bagged equal points (4), a superior set difference of -1 for U Mumba, compared to -3 for Black Hawks helped Mumba advance.

While it was a must-win game for U Mumba, Ahmedabad, knowing that even a win would not take them into the last-four played for pride, looking to win their first game of the season and started the proceedings

Two errors from U Mumba, one each from Pankaj Sharma and Coscovic gave Ahmedabad an 8-7 lead at the first Technical Time Out (TTO). Soon a couple of errors once again from the same players gave Defenders a three-point advantage. At 11-8, U Mumba called for a super point and they eventually won it reducing the lead. However, Defenders won the next super point to raise the score 13-10. Once again two errors from U Mumba gave Defenders the set.

From then on, it was one-way traffic as U Mumba began to dominate, never allowing the opposition to take lead. Operating from the front, Vinit Kumar was the most valuable player for U Mumba in this set as he scored four valuable points, steering U Mumba’s lead. The team managed to close the third set 15-13 with a spike by skipper Sinha.

Immediately at the start of the third set, the men in orange notched up four consecutive points including a super serve from Saqlain Tariq. At TTO, the lead was 8-3.

Ahmedabad then called for a Super Point at 5-10 and it was successfully converted by Sysoev. The team then put up a good fight to bring the score 12-13. U Mumba however, held their nerve and a block by Nicholas Del Bianco won the set for them 15-12.

Similar script followed in the fourth set as well. U Mumba gave itself a four-point advantage at 8-4 during the TTO. Ahmedabad once again came back but it was not enough as they lost the set 12-15. The victory gave Mumba a place in the semis and the final set too was won by the Maharashtra franchise thereby sealing the game 4-1.

Aaditya Anand M