Kerala men spike Uttarkhand, enter national volleyball final

December 18th, 2010 - 11:30 pm ICT by IANS  

Chennai, Dec 18 (IANS) Kerala snatched a dramatic five-set win against last year’s runners-up Uttarakhand to enter the final of the Velammal Silver Jubilee Senior National Volleyball Championships here Saturday.In the final Sunday, Kerala will take on defending champions Tamil Nadu, who outplayed the Indian Railways 3-0 in about an hour.

Meanwhile, the women’s final will be a repeat of last year’s clash between holders Indian Railways and Kerala, both of whom won in straight sets against Bengal and Karnataka, respectively.

It was Kerala men who had the spotlight trained on them as they displayed admirable fortitude to survive some tight situations while their superior team work eventually swung the tide in their favour.

The 100-minute tussle that saw fortunes ebb and flow, as Kerala began strongly by winning the first set when they came back from a 13-19 deficit only to lose the next as Uttarakhand regrouped to build on an early lead.

Kerala looked a side transformed in winning the third with setter Manu playing a key role while libero Kiran Phillip caught the eye in the backcourt.

Again, Uttarakhand refused to go down as their blockers rose to the occasion to blunt the Kerala spikers Tom Joseph Rajeev and Vibin George to send the match into the decider fifth set.

At this critical juncture, Kerala managed to raise their game. Aided by some fine serves by Vibin and solid blocking by Rajeev and Tom Joseph, they finally tamed Uttarakhand to move into the final.

Results (all semi-finals):

Men: Kerala bt Uttarkand 25-17, 17-25, 25-16, 13-25, 15-10; Tamil Nadu bt Indian Railways 25-16, 25-16, 25-17.

Women: Indian Railways bt Bengal 25-12, 25-10, 25-16; Kerala bt Karnataka 25-22, 25-10, 25-20.

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