Pro Volleyball League: Chennai Spartans keep making history
The Pro Volleyball League(PVL) was inaugurated this season under the stewardship of Joy Bhattacharya and the Chennai Spartans have already made their name known in the continent. While the rest of India is busy with the IPL, the premier champions are making historic strides in the Asian Volleyball circuit.
The Birth of the Chennai Spartans…
Chennai Spartans are the first team to play in the Asian Men Volleyball Championship. The coach-captain duo of M H Kumara and Shelton Moses has worked diligently to ensure that firstly they emerged victorious in the PVL. The league started off with six franchisees from different parts of India.
Spartans finished third in the league, having won two of the five games they played in the league. However, they managed to upstage second-placed Kochi Blue Spikers in the semifinal to cruise their way to the final match of the tournament. It should be noted that Spartans certainly raised their game according to the demands of the situation.
Kochi was certainly the better team as compared to Chennai in the league stage. They had won four games to Chennai’s two and looked well poised to register another victory. They also had momentum riding in their side, but Spartans rode on their attacker, Ruslan Sorokin’s Man of the Match-worthy performance to record a win against all odds. It must have been a morale-booster for a team that visibly endured a turbulent period during the league stages.
Chennai Spartans made it to the finals…
The final, however, was supposed to be their most stern test, as they were to face the league’s best side, Calicut Heroes. Calicut was unbeaten in the league until then and was the deserving favorites to lift up the maiden PVL title. However, once again, Spartans overturned the general consensus and once again defied the odds to defeat Calicut in a well-contested final. Attacker, Naveen Raja Jacob stole the show with his commendable performance, as the whole team displayed tenacity and level-headedness to eventually emerge victorious.
Can Chennai Spartans rule Asia now?
In the Asian Volleyball Championship, Spartans have now secured a last-eight spot too. In the encounter with Qatar’s Al-Rayyan Club, they came out on top to finish second in Pool C. It was also Spartans’ second consecutive victory, but the manner of their victory against Al-Rayyan is appreciable too.
The Qatar based club was the pool-topper, and definitely one of the most prominent teams of the tournament. However, Chennai showed their tremendous mentality by competing fiercely and keeping their nerve in the tie-breaker round as well. Blocker Akhin G.S rallied the team in these tense moments and ensured that his club entered the knockouts of the tournament, becoming the first-ever volleyball team in the country to do so. The final score of the deciding set was 15-12 in favor of the Spartans, with star player Akhin delivering the final blow in the gut to Al-Rayyan.
With Chennai Spartans leading the way, the whole volleyball scene in India looks to have improved by leaps and bounds in just one season. Hopefully, both the club and the league will be able to maintain some consistency in the coming years and continue to exceed expectations. For now, Spartans’ run in the Asian championships is worth to be followed by the masses.