C. Ajithlal, amongst his youngest 22-year-old side, put on an impressive display as Calicut Heroes beat Chennai Spartans 4-1 in the opening match of the RuPay Pro Volleyball League at Rajiv Gandhi Indoor Stadium in Kochi on Sunday.
The young Thiruvananthapuram player stood out with his superb shots on the field that annoyed the Spartans throughout the match. Calicut, true to its name, seems to be full of heroes. There was American Olympian Paul Lotman, and two Indian internationals C. Jerome Fenith and A. Karthik – who led Karnataka to a rare victory in the seniors team recently.
Unlike her competitor, Calicut looked young and fresh. Practically every group had a dominant personality. It was the tall Karthik who stood out in the opening group. His serve shook Chennai and at one point Calicut won seven points in a row on serve.
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Calicut led 13-2 in the opening set and 7-3 in the next as he comfortably won the first two sets with the team well integrated with Agythalal frequently distinguished by his shots that found their way through the block or caught on for supremacy. Meanwhile, Captain Jerome was distinguished from the wings.
There were many elderly faces in Chennai, but the arrival of Naveen Raja, to replace Latvia’s Ruslans Sorokins, in the third set sharply upset the match. Naveen almost brought the team back to life with his shots and serves, taking one with an extra point. The scores were close and Canada’s Rodi Vihoff and Achen helped Chennai get the group.
Calicut led 5-1 in the fourth set and this put the team in a good position. The team combined well and advanced 3-1 in the match. The rest was a formality.
In the Saturday’s Premier League Opening MatchKochi Blue Spikers beat U Mumba Foley 4-1.
The result: Calicut Heroes vs Chennai Spartans: 15-7, 15-8, 13-15, 15-11, 15-11.