Kochi: Reigning champions SAIKSEB, Thiruvananthapuram, battled past SAI Thalassery 25-15, 23-25, 2522, 25-18, to enter the women’s final of the 18th inter-club volleyball championship held here on Friday. SAI-KSEB played brilliantly in the first game giving no room for their opponents to take the lead.
If it was SAI-KSEB captain Alphonsa who stood out for them with her smashes in the initial stages, veteran Sheeba powered their attacks towards the end of the game.
Reshma and Jomol also contributed well for the SAI-KSEB team to clinch the game 25-15.
The second game saw a charged up SAI Thalassery team as their lanky blockers sealed the attacks of the Thiruvananthapuram team. Through intelligent drop shots of Elizabeth and attacks unleashed by Poornima, the SAI team gained a lead of five points
midway 19-14. However, a series of faults committed by Poornima took the defending champions back into the game only to be beaten by a spirited SAI 2325.
In the third game, the SAI team seemed to have taken control but below par passes gave SAI-KSEB an edge.
Their libero and back-line defence found it hard to connect the sharp passes and gave away points to the their opponents. However, the game went neck and neck until 19-19, courtesy unforced errors committed by the SAI-KSEB team. The defending champions affected two substitutions then and newcomers Tiji and Sruthi rose to the occasion by winning points to wrap the game 25-22.
SAI-KSEB faced a tired Thalassery team in the fourth game as Sheeba and Athira starred with the smashes. Ably supported by Jomol, who mixed drop shots and smashes intelligently, the SAI-KSEB confirmed their spot in the semifinal with a 25-18 verdict.
On Saturday, St Joseph College Irinjalakuda will meet Kerala Police in the women's semifinal match.
In the men's semifinal, Kerala Police will face Cochin port Trust.
Karnataka ride on Rahul's top knock Karnataka defeated Kerala by 52 runs in the Subbiah Pillai trophy one-day cricket tournament at Goa on Friday.
Rahul K. L. top scored 86 while Robin Uthappa and Stuart Binny made 54 and 60 runs respectively in Karnataka's solid total of 322 for 5.
In reply, skipper Sachin Baby made 61 while Robert Fernandez added 55 and Rakesh K. J. remained unbeaten on 41, but Kerala only managed 270 for 6 in the allotted overs.
Brief scores: Karnataka 322/5 in 50 overs (Rahul 86, Robin 54, Binny 60, P. Prasanth 2/53) bt Kerala 270/6 in 50 overs (Sachin Baby 61, Robert 55, Rakesh 41 not out)