Sappers overcome gritty SWR

MEG to face BSNL, KSP take on ASC in semifinals

Sappers overcome gritty SWR

Madras Engineer Group (MEG) overcame a stiff resistance, including a marathon second set loss, from South Western Railway (SWR) to win 25-22, 36-38, 25-16, 25-22 and enter the semifinals of the 19th State ‘A’ Division volleyball championship at the Sree Kanteerava stadium on Tuesday.

MEG finished the second phase with six points from three games and joined Army Service Corps (ASC) -- who rounded off their outing with seven points from three matches -- as the second team from Group D in the last-four stage.

The Sappers began their proceedings on a strong note in the first set, opening up a three-point lead at 13-10. Prabhu and Arul Selvan were in roaring form getting their smashes right and quelling SWR’s challenges at the same time.

Somanath Gowda and Christy helped the Railways draw parity at 14-14 with their power-packed smashes and effective blocking. But MEG got in front again with the wiry Packiaraj deceiving SWR blockers with his smashes and Dibin blasting away using his reach.

Though SWR were tailing MEG at 22-21, the latter closed out the set without much difficulty at 25-22.

The Railwaymen under pressure to salvage the situation eked out a workmanlike performance in the second set. MEG had a sizable lead at 20-17 but from there on it was a see-saw battle that followed with both teams fighting hard to pocket the set.

Prince and Bipin kept garnering points for MEG but kept handing SWR the initiative soon after claiming a point. What really helped SWR bag the set was Harish’s superb game at the net at the closing stages of the set. After a long and exhausting tussle, SWR clinched the longest set of the tournament at 38-36.

MEG’s familiar fighting qualities came to the fore in the third set. With Selvan along with Prince and Prabhu cracking some scything smashes and Packiaraj thwarting SWR’s designs at the net, MEG were up 18-10.

SWR had no answers to MEG’s aggressive display as they went down quite tamely at 25-16.

In the fourth set, teams were tied at 7-7 but MEG became proactive soon after to rack up a 14-10 lead. Packiaraj’s drop shots were coming off beautifully whilst Prince and Bipin went about their attack with elan.

MEG stayed ahead throughout to win the set and match at 25-22.

In an inconsequential Group C match, LIC beat ITI 25-21, 25-23, 25-14. BSNL and KSP had progressed to the last four earlier.

In the semifinals on Wednesday, MEG will play BSNL while defending champions KSP run into ASC.

Results: Group C: LIC bt ITI 25-21, 25-23, 25-14.
Group D: MEG bt SWR 25-22, 36-38, 25-16, 25-22.     

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