Karnataka women storm into quarters

Volleyball Senior Nationals : State eves to take on champions Railways

Karnataka women storm into quarters

 The Karnataka women’s team continued their good run to storm into the quarterfinals of the 64th Senior National Volleyball Championships here at the Sree Kanteerava Indoor Stadium on Thursday.

The hosts routed Haryana 25-16, 25-21, 25-14 in the second round of the quarterfinal qualifiers to set up a last eight clash against defending champions Railways on Friday.

The Ranjitha CJ captained side had an unbeaten run in the league stage to top Group C. They then went on to beat Group D toppers Uttar Pradesh 25-13, 25-17, 25-19 in the first round of quarterfinals on Thursday morning.

The Karnataka eves had failed into enter the knockouts in the previous edition of the championship held in Chennai. Their best performance in the recent past came in the 2010 edition, where they bagged the bronze medal in Chennai. Up against the tournament favourites Railways, the hosts will have their task cut out in the crucial encounter.

Karnataka were hardly challenged by Haryana in the decisive second round match and the hosts looked like the better team out of the two, right from the start. Attacker Megha KV was on song in the first set, sending in strong smashes against an ordinary Haryana defence.

Attacker Nisha waged a lone battle for Haryana and proved to be very effective with her smashes but Karnataka kept their focus to remain in control of the contest. Despite their setter Meghana experiencing a woeful day and the blockers looking weak, the accurate serving and strong attacking helped Karnataka to dominate their opponents.

The second set didn’t bring any relief to Haryana as they continued to look out of sorts. Too many unforced errors saw them gift points to their opponents. Karnataka drove home the advantage of having a two-set lead to take the third with ease and emerge winner in a match that lasted 74 minutes.

In the men’s section, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh were the final two teams to enter the quarterfinals.

Uttarakhand, mainly comprising of ONGC players, were banned for three years by the Volleyball Federation of India following their hasty withdrawal from the 35th National Games held in Kerala last year due to a dispute with their national federation. But to their good fortunes, the governing body lifted the ban after a year, allowing them to participate in the current championship.

With four semifinal appearances and one runner-up honour since 2009, Uttarakhand had a forgetful edition last year but the Ranjith Singh-led side seems to have put their management issues behind their back to enjoy a fine run so far this year. After prevailing 25-20, 18-25, 25-20, 25-27, 15-10 against Haryana in round one qualifier, Uttarakhand displayed great resilience to clinch a four-setter against Rajasthan in round two. They defeated Rajasthan 25-19, 20-25, 27-25, 25-22 to set up a mouth-watering last eight clash against title contenders Kerala on Friday.

Results: Quarterfinal qualifiers: Round two: Men: Uttar Pradesh bt Andhra Pradesh 3-2 (21-25, 25-21, 25-21, 19-25, 15-11); Uttarakhand bt Rajasthan 3-1 (25-19, 20-25, 27-25, 25-22). Women: Karnataka bt Haryana 3-0 (25-16, 25-21, 25-14); Andhra Pradesh bt Punjab 3-0 (25-12, 25-14, 25-19).

Round one: Men: Uttar Pradesh bt West Bengal 3-0 (25-21, 27-25, 25-15); Uttarakhand bt Haryana 3-2 (25-20, 18-25, 25-20, 25-27, 15-10). Women: Karnataka bt Uttar Pradesh 3-0 (25-13, 25-17, 25-19); Andhra Pradesh bt Himachal Pradesh 3-0 (25-16, 25-13, 25-11).

Quarterfinal-line up: (all on Friday): Men: Kerala vs Uttarakhand; Tamil Nadu vs Uttar Pradesh; Punjab vs Services; Karnataka vs Indian Railways;

Women: Indian Railways vs Karnataka; Kerala vs Andhra Pradesh; Telangana vs West Bengal; Maharashtra vs Tamil Nadu.

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