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Asian Club Volleyball Championships: Pro Volleyball League champions Chennai Spartans Reach Semis

Asian Club Volleyball Championships: Chennai Spartans beat Vietnam’s Ho Chi Min City 25-21, 25-18, 25-21 to enter the semi-finals of the tournament.

News18 Sports

Updated:April 24, 2019, 4:59 PM IST
Asian Club Volleyball Championships: Pro Volleyball League champions Chennai Spartans Reach Semis
Chennai Spartans have followed up their Pro Volleyball League victory with a brilliant show against Asian clubs. (Photo Credit: PVL)

Taiwan: Chennai Spartans, the winners of the inaugural Pro Volleyball League, have made it to the top four among Asian clubs after they reached the semi-finals of Asian Club Volleyball Championships on Wednesday in Taiwan.

The Spartans beat Vietnamese club Ho Chi Min City 25-21, 25-18, 25-21 in the quarter-final to make it to the last four.

In the semi-finals, they will either play against Taichung Bank from Taiwan or Iran's Shahrdari Varamin.

For the first time since 1986, an Indian volleyball team is in medal contention at the Asian Level. If India win the semi-final, they will also play for gold in the final or else, they will play for a bronze medal.

So far in the tournament, Rudy Verhoeff and Ruslans Sorokins, who were pivotal to Spartans’ title-winning campaign in February, have been vital cogs in the wheel for the team in Taiwan as well.

But it’s the Indian talent of Jerome Vineeth and Aswal Rai, which has made heads turn in the tournament.

The Vietnamese club ran the Indians close in the first set and it was some fine attacking by the likes of Jerome Vineeth and Ruslans Sorokins that helped the Spartans seize the advantage.

The next set saw the likes of Rudy Verhoeff and Naveen Raja Jacob step up and the duo ensured the Spartans never gave away the advantage despite some fine spiking by Nguyen Van Hanh. This allowed Coach Kumara the chance to try out his reserves.

Ho Chi Minh pushed the Spartans hard in the last set, but the late resurgence only delayed the inevitable as the Indian club notched up their consecutive second straight set victory.

The Spartans coach M.H Kumara expressed his satisfaction with the performance.

"It was our best result so far in this tournament as we are now among the top four teams along with powerhouses like Japan, Iran and possible Qatar. We played badly only in the first match and then we picked it up to win the remaining matches. We have reached the semi-finals for the first time in India’s history. My players came here on April 13 and had a short period of time to train together as a full team here, just two days ahead of the competition. I think my players played well in this match in terms of the quality and strategic plan.”

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