Karnataka retain crown in style

All-India BSNL tournament

Defending champions Karnataka overwhelmed Tamil Nadu 28-26, 25-22, 23-25, 25-16 to clinch the title in the 11th all-India BSNL volleyball tournament at the Sree Kanteerava stadium on Friday.

champions Karnataka, winners of the 11th all-India BSNL volleyball tournament title, STANDING (from left): Rajesh K Pawar, MR Sadashivaradhya, Maruthi G Nayak, MG Hegdekar, Raghuprasad (coach), HK Nagesh, S Girish Kumar, M Ganesh Rai. KNEELING: A Anil Bernard, TD Ravikumar, JV Ramana Kumar, RN Lakshmikantha, G Arun Kumar. DH PHOTO

Karnataka were thus crowned champions for the fourth consecutive year. Although Karnataka won by three sets to one, it was a lot closer than the scoreline suggested.

Karnataka started the match well with captain TD Ravikumar’s power-packed smashes and placements fetching them crucial points in the first set.

Leading 19-14 at one stage, it looked as if the hosts would have it easy but some good blocking and smashing from Satheesh Kumar and K Jaya Prakash saw TN level at 25-25. However, Karnataka kept their nerve to win the set 28-26.

The holders were more dominant in the second with the combine of Ganesh Rai and Ravikumar creating problems with their intelligent placement and unplayable smashes. Anil Bernard was impeccable with his blocking as Karnataka raked up a six-point lead at 20-14. Although TN pulled back a few points, the home team finished off the set 25-22.

With a straight-set demolition looming large, TN fought back hard. Captain N Balaji, Satheesh and Jaya Prakash galvanised the team with serve, smash and placement respectively. Despite fighting neck to neck, Karnataka paid the price for letting their guard down on the big points as they gifted the set 23-25.

Having got the much-needed wake-up call, there were no such problems for Karnataka in the fourth set. Karnataka took a 20-12 lead with Ravikumar showing ample evidence of his international experience, grabbing points at will with his well-directed smashes. The hosts’ libero Sadashivaradhya was alert at the back and made sure supplies to Ravi, Ganesh and Maruthi G Nayak were smooth. Without breaking sweat, Karnataka wrapped up the set and match 25-16.

Result: final: Karnataka bt Tamil Nadu 28-26, 25-22, 23-25, 25-16; Third-place play-off: Rajasthan bt Bihar 19-25, 17-25, 25-22, 25-20, 15-13.

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