Kerala girls dazzle to retain title in style

Tamil Nadu boys defeat UP to defend crown

Kerala girls won 25-21, 23-25, 25-21, 25-18. After taking a few minutes to settle down, both Kerala and TN dished out a close battle. But Kerala skipper Karthika combined well with Drishya to pocket the set in favour of them.

Tamil Nadu boys too retained their crown, defeating Uttar Pradesh 25-23, 25-17, 19-25, 25-16.

TN started the proceedings in the second set taking a 10-7 lead with Priya and Kiruthika joining forces. Their smashes were too hot to handle for the Kerala defence. Though Kerala took a 13-12 lead, they could not sustain the momentum as TN won the set 25-23.

After the breather Kerala lasses looked a rejuvenated lot and the champion outfit raced to a 1-4 lead in no time. Sanisha was doing the star turn for Kerala with her precise drop shots catching the TN defence off-guard on a number of occasions.

Anju also propped up Kerala with a couple of crucial winners that tilted the set towards them. Kerala’s blocking was another feature in the third set, thwarting many attempts by the TN spikers. Sandhya and Rajeshwari tried to keep TN in the hunt but their effort was not enough as Kerala walked away with the set 25-21.

Going into the fourth set with their confidence high, Kerala looked a class above. It was the turn of Jini to take the attack into the TN camp and along with Drishya she troubled the opposition defence quite frequently.

The duo’s excellent net-play and drop shots enabled Kerala to surge ahead of their rivals. With Karthika too joining the party with some forceful smashes Kerala looked all set to take the title home once more.

Priya and Sandhya pegged back a few points for Tamil Nadu in the later part of the set, but Kerala were not to be denied on the day as they wrapped the set and match 25-18.

Results (final): Boys: Tamil Nadu bt Uttar Pradesh 25-23, 25-17, 19-25, 25-16.
Girls: Kerala bt Tamil Nadu 25-21, 23-25, 25-21, 25-18.

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