Pro Volleyball league: U Mumba makes semifinals

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The team rallies from a set behind to down Ahmedabad Defenders

U Mumba Volley came back from a set behind to beat Ahmedabad Defenders 4-1 (10-15, 15-12, 15-13, 15-12, 15-8) and reach the semifinals of the RuPay Pro Volleyball league here at the Nehru Indoor stadium on Monday.

For Defenders, it marked the end of a forgettable tournament wherein it lost all its five matches and dragged along Black Hawks Hyderabad out of the tournament.

Hyderabad and Mumbai were tied on four points each but Mumbai had a better set difference of 0 to Hyderabad’s -3.

In the first semifinal on Tuesday, table toppers Calicut Heroes will take on U Mumba while Kochi Blue Spikers will take on Chennai Spartans on Wednesday.

In the first set, both teams traded points and were tied at 7-7 at the halfway stage with quite a few points coming from unforced errors than any brilliance. Two more unforced errors from Mumba gave Defenders a three-point lead at 10-7.

Super point

Vinit Kumar then produced two good spikes including one super point to narrow the lead at 11-10 but Defenders’ Mandeep Singh returned the favour with a spike on super point before two more unforced errors from Mumba gave the first set to Defenders 15-10.

Mumba, however, came back strongly in the second set led by Deepesh Kumar Sinha and Vinit who produced brilliant spikes and blocks. The Defenders’ unit looked disjointed in setting and struggled to return any spikes as Mumba took a 7-3 lead.

Defenders’ foreign player Victor Sysoev was the only player keeping the team alive as he helped narrow the gap from 12-8 to 12-10 with a brave spike on super point. An error from Mumba’s Pankaj Sharma got the gap to 13-12 but Deepesh and Vinit produced a spike each to help Mumba level at 1-1.

The third set also saw Mumba take the early lead racing to a 10-3 lead with its foreign player Nicholas Del Bianco doing the damage with his powerful spikes and blocks.

Sysoev once again pulled things back for Defenders with spikes at crucial junctures to make it 14-13 but Deepesh came with a winner at the right moment to help Mumba take the set 15-13.

The fourth set mirrored the previous two sets in Mumba taking an early lead at 10-5 with Deepesh and Pankaj leading the charge with three points each.

Despite a few hairy moments, Mumbai held its nerves to take the set and match 15-12.

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