“We must accept finite disappointment, but we must never lose infinite hope.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

For the Kochi faithful, this quote pretty much sums up the 2023 season of the RuPay Prime Volleyball League Powered By A23. Their team, Kochi Blue Spikers, managed to win just one game in the inaugural season finishing dead last. Redemption would provide elusive once again though in a tumultuous journey.

The biggest news for Kochi Blue Spikers heading into the season was the exit of star blocker Karthik Madhu. Without a natural replacement for him, Kochi looked to bolster their attack by signing explosive spiker Rohit Kumar for a record fee of INR 17.5 lakhs while also bringing in experienced setter Vipul Kumar over from Hyderabad Black Hawks.

Quickly, their lack of defence at the net was evident as they lost their opening fixture against Chennai Blitz (who eventually finished last this season) in a 3-2 defeat. Things took a turn for the worse with their collapse against former champions Kolkata Thunderbolts with the latter taking four sets straight and taking their foot off the gas with Kochi nicking one.

Kochi went on to lose their next two matches against Hyderabad Black Hawks and Bengaluru Torpedoes in decisive 3-2 matches. This left them with four consecutive losses on their record leaving them in last place. All hope wasn’t lost though as the #BlueNGold supporters rallied behind their team with unconditional love and support. This enabled them to put up a massive fight against red-hot Calicut Heroes. Down 2-1, Erin Varghese and Walter da Cruz Neto took over and ended up completing the comeback to gift Kochi their first win of the second season.

Their next match was a tough five-setter loss to Ahmedabad Defenders which went down to the wire. Their final game against Mumbai Meteors was a testament to Kochi Blue Spikers’ resilience and determination. In a completely lost situation and out of the playoff picture, they put up their best performance of the season against the new boys winning 4 sets of a possible 5 and ending their campaign in seventh place.

Top Performers:

Erin Varghese

Erin Varghese, an electric spiker who was retained by Kochi was the backbone of the team. Identical to season 1, he put the ball away with zeal and power every time he was set. With 43 attack points at a 44.33% efficiency, he was the player to watch out for in Kochi’s ranks. He also had a zapping serve and managed to secure 6 points off of it. Add his five block points and his total of 54 points was the best by any #BlueNGold player.

Abhinav BS

One of the most consistent performers for Kochi, blocker Abhinav BS had a 6+ point average. With 27 attack points at a 61% efficiency, he made the most out of the balls he set. His real talent shone when he was blocking at the net as he managed to bag 14 block points. The youngster’s versatility was a key aspect of Kochi Blue Spikers’ strategy.

Coach’s Corner: Boby Xavier

Top Performances:

Mumbai Meteors vs Kochi Blue Spikers (1-4)

Playing their final game of the season against the new dogs in the yard, Kochi Blue Spikers delivered their best performance of RuPay Prime Volleyball League Season 2023 as they managed to win three straight sets and seal the game early thanks to the combination of Rohit Kumar and Shubham Chaudhary. Mumbai Meteors did eventually get one back but it was all for naught as Kochi took the final set and closed a 4-1 victory.

Kochi Blue Spikers vs Calicut Heroes (3-2)

The first win in the second season for Kochi Blue Spikers came against the in-form Calicut Heroes who had won 4 out of their last 5 matches. Kochi took the lead but lost the next two sets straight in a decisive manner. Spiker Erin Varghese and blocker Walter da Cruz Neto took charge however and combined for a total of 24 points between them to quash the comeback and seal the win for Kochi.