Hyderabad, 16th February 2023: Defending Champions Kolkata Thunderbolts’ winning streak came to end as they were handed a defeat by the Calicut Heroes in the second season of RuPay Prime Volleyball League. With a score line of 15-14, 7-15, 15-11, 13-15, 15-13, Calicut Heroes kept their winning momentum going on at the Gachibowli Indoor Stadium in Hyderabad on Thursday.
Speaking after the match and reflecting back on what went wrong, Vinit, who plays as a Universal said, “We made some mistakes, which cost us the game. We will go back and learn from what we did wrong during the match and improve upon them in our next game.”
A triple-man block led by Jerome provided Calicut Heroes the early advantage. With Jose Antonio Sandoval’s threat looming, Kolkata skipper Ashwal Rai needed to be alert. Targeting Cody Caldwell from the service line, Calicut tried to prevent the Thunderbolts’ attacker to get a say. Spreading the game wide, Jerome closed out Kolkata’s attacks and Calicut took control.
With Rahul’s magic from the service line, Ashwal and Vinit started making more impact. Calicut skipper Matt Hilling appeared puzzled and the defending champions found a way back into the match.Kolkata started targeting Jerome with serves to keep the game wide, but it led to a few serve errors from the Thunderbolts. Mohan Ukkrapandian’s passes and Jerome’s attacking ensured Calicut remain in the contest.
As things began to get heated, Rahul began combining with setter Hariharan to begin the Thunderbolts’ resistance. Mohan became an integral key to Calicut’s formula and he continued to set up Jerome for spikes. But Vinit’s fiery serves allowed Cody to get a say from the middle and the topsy-turvy battle went right down to the wire.
The game of fine margins eventually turned into a battle between Rahul’s attacks and Ashwin’s blocks. Hariharan started setting up Ashwal for spikes. But with powerful serves, Jerome turned the tables once again in the final minute of the match to help his team get a sensational win.