Chennai, February 16: U Mumba Volley defeated Chennai Spartans 3-2 (15-14, 15-8, 15-10, 10-15, 10-15) in the opening match of the Chennai leg of the Pro Volleyball League in Chennai on Saturday (February 16) to keep its hopes of a semifinal spot alive.
Skipper Dipesh Sinha was the top scorer for U Mumba with 11 points (5 spikes, 2 blocks and 4 serves) and helped the team post its first win.
For the Spartans, Rudy Verhoeff equalled his individual points record of 20 in a match (14 spikes and 6 serves) but ended up on the losing side.
It was a hard-fought battle as both teams knew it was a crucial game and didn't allow the other any leeway.
Chennai Spartans got the first advantage as they went into the first Technical Time Out (TTO) with a spike from Rudy Verhoeff at 8-7. Chennai looked in good rhythm after the TTO, as they mounted a 13-8 lead with the help of Naveen Raja Jacobs Super Serve.
U Mumba called for a Super Point at 8-13 and won the same. It was the start of a comeback. At 14-10, it looked like Chennai would win the set but U Mumba closed the gap with the help of three errors by Chennai to eventually win the set 15-14.
U Mumba came out all guns blazing in the second set and opened up a 4-0 lead. Skipper Dipesh Sinha, Vinit Kumar and Coskovic did bulk of the scoring and the set ended 15-8 in their favour as they took a 2-0 lead.
They took 3 sets in a row and picked up their first win of the #RuPayPVL today. Well done #Mumboys, here's the winning moment!#ThrillKaCall— Pro Volleyball (@ProVolleyballIN) February 16, 2019
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In the third set, it seemed like a similar story but Chennai wasn't going down easily. From 2-6 down, Chennai closed the gap to 6-7 when a Super Serve by Verhoeff gave them the advantage entering the TTO.
At 9-11, Chennai called for a Super Point but failed to convert. U Mumba finally won the set 15-10 and obtained an unassailable 3-0 lead in the match.
In the penultimate set, it was Sinha and Coskovic who looked in scintillating form as they scored 5 out of 8 points to take an 8-6 lead at TTO for U Mumba. At 7-9 Chennai called for a Super Point and converted to level the score. U Mumba immediately called for a Super Point but an error by Pankaj Sharma gifted Chennai the point. Chennai finally opened their account in the match winning the fourth set 15-10.
Chennai won the fifth set to reduce the margin of defeat to 2-3.