Bengaluru (Karnataka)[India], February 5 (ANI): The defending Champions Kolkata Thunderbolts began their campaign in the second season of the Prime Volleyball League with a thrilling 15-11, 15-11, 15-14, 10-15, 14-15 win against the home side Bengaluru Torpedoes here at the Koramangala Indoor Stadium. Raison Benet Rebello was named the 'Player of the Match'.
Bengaluru Torpedoes began the match with Tsvetelin Tsvetanov earning the first point in the season for his team with a fantastic spike as the home crowd roared loudly. A minute later, Tsvetanov earned another point and Mujeeb MC put on a beautiful block as Torpedoes increased their lead to 4-2. Just when it looked like Torpedoes might win the first set comfortably, a delightful deft touch from Cody Caldwell and a fantastic block from captain Ashwal Rai gave Kolkata two crucial points and reduced the gap to 9-10. Ashwal sent a Super Serve as Thunderbolts took lead for the first time in the match, and less than a minute later, Cody tapped the ball over the net as Kolkata came from behind to take the first set 15-11.
Kolkata continued the momentum in the second set as they earned two quick points. Vinit Kumar's spike further extended Kolkata's lead, putting the hosts on the back foot. Alireza Abalooch earned the first point in the set for Bengaluru with a powerful hit. But it did not affect the tide in the game and Thunderbolts earned a flurry of points to take a five-point lead in the set. But Torpedoes earned four points quickly and closed the gap to 5-7. Rahul K struck onto the nets and Bengaluru Torpedoes gained another point. Deepesh Kumar Sinha brought his team back in control with two consecutive spikes, and Kolkata took a 2-0 lead in the match, winning the set 15-11.
Cody's stunning form continued in the third set as he pinched a ball over the net to give Kolkata an early lead in the third set. Mujeeb's stunning block allowed Bengaluru Torpedoes to get back into the contest as they took the lead in the set, much to the delight of Head Coach David Lee. Vinit Kumar, with a spike, brought Thunderbolts back into the set as he reduced the gap to 5-8. Two consecutive unforced errors from Torpedoes allowed Kolkata to level the score. Bengaluru's Tsvetelin struck the ball outside the boundary lines and the Thunderbolts took a 13-11 lead. But Bengaluru earned two quick points to get back to level pegging. With both teams tied at 14-14, an error from Torpedoes' Ibin Jose on the serve ended the thrilling contest as Kolkata Thunderbolts won the third set 15-14 to win the match in straight sets.
Playing for the bonus point, Bengaluru Torpedoes quickly earned a 4-2 lead at the start of the fourth set. An unforced error from Vinit Kumar allowed Torpedoes to take a four-point lead in the match. Hariharan set up Torpedoes' libero Hari Prasad BS for a spike and he struck a powerful shot as the home team maintained a strong lead in the fourth set. Vinit struck a powerful shot to get a point for Kolkata. Ibin Jose put on a solid block as Bengaluru took an 11-5 lead, but Deepesh Kumar and Ashwal Rai helped their team to three straight points to close the gap. Torpedoes continued to make unforced errors as Thunderbolts found a way back into the set. With a Super Point on offer, Ibin pinched the ball over the nets perfectly as Torpedoes won the fourth set 15-10.
Torpedoes captain Pankaj put on a fantastic block to level the scoreline in the final set, after Thunderbolts took an early lead. Srajan tapped the ball over the nets as he gave Torpedoes a lead in the set. But neither of the two teams was able to hold on to the lead for long. A double touch by Hari Prasad BS allowed Bengaluru to regain their two-point lead, but Deepesh's spike reduced the gap again. With Super Point on offer, Torpedoes' struck the ball outside allowing Kolkata to take lead. But Bengaluru earned two three consecutive points to take a 14-13 lead. Ibin's final shot went outside after a touch from Thunderbolts' player and Torpedoes won the set, but Kolkata won the match 3-2.
Calicut Heroes will be up against Mumbai Meteors at the Koramangala Indoor Stadium in the second match of the Prime Volleyball League in Bengaluru at 1900 hrs IST on Sunday. (ANI)