A revamped squad, Calicut Heroes had a rollercoaster of a season with an equal win/loss rate. Starting their Season 2 campaign at the RuPay Prime Volleyball League Powered by A23 with a comeback win against Mumbai Meteors, the roar of the Chembada went unrivalled as they felled the previous season’s semi-finalists Hyderabad Black Hawks and champions Kolkata Thunderbolts making it three wins in a row and placing them firmly at the top of the points table.

The match against Ahmedabad Defenders was a back-and-forth affair going down to the fifth set where the Damdaars eventually triumphed. Bouncing back from a tough loss however, Calicut Heroes dispatched Chennai Blitz and were ready to pick up momentum but little did they know that their excitement would be short-lived as it would be their last win in 2023.

Calicut went on to lose both their remaining league stage games in closely contested affairs to local rivals, Kochi Blue Spikers and Bengaluru Torpedoes to finish the league with eight points securing the third spot. They played the second semi final against second placed Ahmedabad Defenders

Calicut have a precarious record against the team from the west where they have lost all their matches since Season 1 and were hungry for redemption. They pushed their opponents to the very brink in the first set as Ahmedabad grabbed the first set with 17 points! Echoing the Chembada’s roar, they did not give up and took back the next set. They continued to show immense fighting spirit but succumbed to a 3-1 loss against the eventual champions and ended their season on a bittersweet note.

Top Performers

Jose Antonio Sandoval

The 27-year-old Cuban national was a beast at the net. Reaching heights that most could only dream of, this middle blocker stuffed an average of 29.33% of shots he faced and ended up bagging 22 points from blocks alone which made him the best Blocker of the 2023 Season. He also scored 52 attack points and 4 serve points which added to his already fearsome arsenal.

Mohan Ukkrapandian

One of the most decorated players in the RuPay Prime Volleyball League Powered by A23 2023, ‘Ukkra’ didn’t have the best outing last time around making unforced errors and being swapped for a younger setter in Chennai Blitz. He made the move to Calicut this season and proved the critics wrong with his brilliant perception and IQ of the game.

Mohan made a total of 92 sets at a success rate of 20.96% and just 3 errors overall which made him the absolute cream of the crop. His almost-telepathic connection and usage of key hitters Jose Antonio Sandoval and Vinith Jerome also allowed him to bag the title of The Best Setter of the Season.

Coach’s Corner

Top Performances

Mumbai Meteors vs Calicut Heroes (1-4)

A not-so-warm welcome for the new team in the league as Calicut Heroes put on a show in their opening fixture of the season. Down a set, the Chembada took over and Calicut ran riot making a statement in the next two sets winning by a huge margin. Jose Antonio Sandoval was named RuPay Player Of The Match as he along with Ashwin Raj out played their opponents scoring double-digit points over the course of the five sets.

Calicut Heroes vs Hyderabad Black Hawks (4-1)

An utter decimation last time around, the Calicut Heroes ran through Hyderabad Black Hawks winning 5-0 like a hot knife through butter. This time around, it started with a close 15-14 set win for Calicut which quickly turned to 3 sets. Avoiding a similar fate, Hyderabad managed to take the 4th set by a landslide due to a lapse in concentration from Calicut Heroes. They didn’t let it bother them though as they fought back in the final set and closed out a 4-1 victory.