Season 2 Champions of the RuPay Prime Volleyball League Powered by A23, Ahmedabad Defenders, had a campaign to remember. After topping the leaderboard in Season 1 and eventually losing out to Kolkata Thunderbolts in the final of season 1, the 2023 win came as the perfect redemption arc for them.

A rather slow start with a loss to Hyderabad Black Hawks may have raised a few eyebrows. But dusting themselves off and bouncing back from the defeat, the Damdaars went on a five-game winning streak which saw them get better and soar to the top of the points table.

In a repeat of the Season 1 final against the Thunderbolts, Ahmedabad Defenders faced only their second defeat of the season and settled for the second spot in the league table. That meant they drew Calicut Heroes in the semi-finals who they had bested in the league phase. It was a nail-biting encounter which saw the Defenders having to secure 17 points to win a set, not once but twice. Eventually, the Muthusamy Appavu-led side got the better of the Heroes and set up a clash in the final against Bengaluru Torpedoes.

The final against the Torpedoes was nothing short of a spectacle. It truly delivered on the promise of being the ultimate match of the season and after a tumultuous five-set ride, Ahmedabad Defenders emerged victorious.

Top Performers

Angamuthu Ramaswamy

When it comes to attacking, it’s hard to pick against Ramaswamy. Although he did not start in the first couple of games, he delivered whenever he was brought on and eventually made his way to the starting lineup again.

Standing tall at over 2 metres, this Goliath was the Best Spiker of Season 1 and with his 98 attack points, fell short by just four points (to Guru Prasanth) in Season 2. His unmatched jumping ability and powerful spiking make him a fearsome opponent for any team to deal with.

Nandhagopal Subramaniam

A breakthrough youngster who took the reins from more experienced players showed up and showed out in every game. With 56 attack points and 11 blocks to his name, Nandha was already a player to watch out for within the Ahmedabad Defenders’ ranks.

What made the difference, though, was his incredible penchant for serving, bettered by only Rahul K of Kolkata Thunderbolts. Nandha served with ferocity and purpose racking up 11 points just from the service line alone, making him one of the top performers not just for Ahmedabad Defenders but in the entire league.

Coach’s Corner

Top Performances

Chennai Blitz vs Ahmedabad Defenders (0-5)

An utter display of dominance with perfect attack and defence, Ahmedabad’s clean sweep of Chennai Blitz will always be remembered. The young gun Nandhagopal Subramaniam was firing on all cylinders and left Chennai gasping for air. It gave Ahmedabad the coveted three points while also boosting their confidence on all fronts.

Bengaluru Torpedoes vs Ahmedabad Defenders - Final (2-3)

The Defenders started the game strongly and took two sets straight from the Torpedoes, but David Lee’s men weren’t going down without a fight. The teams battled tooth and nail and eventually, Bengaluru took the next two sets to equalise the score.

When the buzzer sounded for the fifth set, every #AsliVolleyball fan in India had the same thought in mind, “Is this another heartbreak for Ahmedabad Defenders? Will the Damdaars fall short of another title?”

Every fan, except the Ahmedabad faithful. They hoped, they believed and as Ramaswamy spiked the ball for the final time at the RuPay Prime Volleyball League Powered by A23 Season 2, they conquered the trophy which had eluded them the first time around.