Policemen battle past LIC

Defending champions Karnataka State Police (KSP) battled past Life Insurance Corporation (LIC)  28-26, 23-25, 19-25, 25-23, 16-14 in a five-set thriller  in a Group C second phase match of the 19th State ‘A’ Division volleyball championship at the Sree Kanteerava stadium here on Sunday.

KSP pocketed two points for the victory and have three points from two matches. LIC, who walked away with one point, have another match to play after they lost to BSNL in their first game.

LIC were in their element in the first set racking up a nine-point lead at 16-7. Vikram and Avinash Shetty pounded the KSP defence with their powerful, well-directed smashes. It looked like LIC would run away with the set.

The cops, however, produced a stunning turnaround with Nagesh and Naveen Kumar taking the attack to the rival camp. The duo deceived LIC’s blockers with its carefully constructed smashes and clever drop shots as KSP levelled scores at 24-24.

LIC had a chance to finish off the set at 26-25 after a Shetty smash gave them the lead. But KSP’s fighting skills coupled with LIC’s poor blocking ensured the first set went to the former at 28-26.

Stung by the reverse LIC were determined to make amends in the second. Although KSP gained a 12-7 lead with contributions from Naveen and Bhagyaraj, LIC caught up soon.
Vikram, Sree Shekar and Pavan collected some invaluable points for LIC as they tied at 20-20. LIC were then spurred on by a couple of brilliantly executed smashes from Vikram as they closed out the set at 25-23.

LIC extended the momentum to the third set racing to a 10-4 lead. Junior international Yeshwant joined forces with Vikram and Shetty to torment the KSP defence. KSP’s resistance was not substantial with only Naveen and to a certain extent Nagesh winning a few points as LIC claimed the set 25-19.

Both teams slugged it out in the fourth set but KSP had greater control over their nerves. Naveen and Nagesh combined to garner the bulk of the points as they played the bigger points well and clinched the set 25-23.

The decider was closely fought and was tied at 12-12 before KSP rose to the occasion, taking the game by the scruff of the neck to win 16-14.

On Monday, KSP will play their last match of the second phase against ITI in Group C while SWR, will lock horns with the struggling Sports Hostel I Sports Club in Group C.
Result: KSP bt LIC 28-26, 23-25, 19-25, 25-23, 16-14.

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