Bengaluru Torpedoes and Ahmedabad Defenders played a gripping final for a shot at the coveted trophy of the RuPay Prime Volleyball League Powered by A23 Season 2. What initially looked like a sheer one-sided contest soon turned into an apprehensive outing for both teams. The intensity and the ferocity of the match was such that it went all the way to the fifth set.

In the end, Ahmedabad Defenders managed to walk out victorious and the game portrayed everything that the league represents: nail-biting finishes, edge-of-the-seat encounters, stunning individual performances and more.

Over the course of one month, eight teams went head-to-head to deliver exactly what was promised. Every other game was as thrilling as the previous one and the fans got to see how dramatic a match of the RuPay Prime Volleyball League could be.

And now that the league has come to a close, it’s time to look back and see how the competition panned out.

Defending champions made a statement, but couldn’t secure the title

The winners of Season 1 of the RuPay Prime Volleyball League, Kolkata Thunderbolts, opened proceedings by defeating eventual finalists Bengaluru Torpedoes. The scoreline of the match, 3-2, may represent that the Torpedoes gave the Thunderbolts a run for their money but the fact is the Ashwal Rai-led side had won the match within the first three sets itself.

Kolkata went on to stretch their winning streak to three games before Calicut Heroes gave them a harsh reality check. Nevertheless, this was Kolkata’s only defeat in the league stage and it took them little to no time to qualify for the playoffs.

Going head-to-head with Bengaluru Torpedoes, the tiredness of playing a day before the semi-final was made evident as they were eliminated from the competition.

How about the finalists?

Ahmedabad Defenders made a losing start to their campaign against Hyderabad Black Hawks. The team brushed off and started afresh to go on a five-game unbeaten run before stumbling against Kolkata Thunderbolts in their last league stage game.

This meant the team had to settle for a second-place finish as Kolkata topped the table with 12 points. A semi-final clash against Calicut Heroes, however, proved to be an easy outing as a 3-1 win meant they qualified for the final for a second successive season.

As far as Bengaluru were concerned, consecutive defeats in their opening matches put them in a difficult position. Four wins in their next five games, however, pushed them fourth on the table, but in order to qualify for the playoffs, they needed a bit of help from Kochi Blue Spikers.

Rejuvenated Kochi played their part

Kochi Blue Spikers struggled for the most part of their campaign. The team lost each of their first four matches and by the time they went into the decisive round, they had only won a solitary encounter.

Their final league stage game against Mumbai Meteors was crucial for the latter. For once, the result of this match was certain to affect two teams and neither of them was Kochi.

Bengaluru finished their league stage campaign with eight points. As for Mumbai, only a 5-0 result could have displaced Bengaluru from the final playoff spot. Kochi not only denied Mumbai that opportunity, but they also went on to beat the side comprehensively (4-1) to send the Bengaluru fans into a frenzy.

Hyderabad close, but not enough

Hyderabad Black Hawks were arguably one of the most exciting teams to watch. Led by their maverick captain Guru Prasanth, who bagged a couple of individual awards this season, the team started their season with a 3-2 win over eventual winners Ahmedabad Defenders.

Defeats, most notably against Kolkata and Calicut, put a major dent in their hopes of qualifying for the playoffs. While they did go on a three-game unbeaten run, a surprising 1-4 defeat at the hands of Mumbai ended their season right away.

Calicut Heroes - the team to beat?

Calicut Heroes started their season with consecutive 4-1 wins over Mumbai and Hyderabad, but three defeats along the way only assured them of a third-place finish. The team was eventually beaten 3-1 in the semi-final by Ahmedabad Defenders.

A forgetful outing for Chennai Blitz

Chennai’s opening day 3-2 win over Kochi Blue Spikers was the only instance that the team got to taste victory. In the next six games, the team registered two 0-5 losses, three 2-3 defeats and one 1-4 loss to finish at the bottom of the standings. They will have much to introspect about for the next edition.

Playoffs duly lived up to the hype

Bengaluru Torpedoes took on Kolkata Thunderbolts in the first semi-final and since the latter had already beaten the former during the league stage, everyone expected it to be a walk in the park. As it turned out, riding on captain Pankaj Sharma’s Man of the Match display, Bengaluru stunned Kolkata to win the match 3-1.

The story was similar when Ahmedabad Defenders took on Calicut Heroes, with the former winning 3-1.

Total drama in the final

Ahmedabad Defenders made a scintillating start to the final, winning the first two sets to put Bengaluru Torpedoes right on the edge of heartbreak. The Pankaj Sharma-led side, however, poured their hearts out to make it 2-2. But towards the later stage of the final set, Ahmedabad made sure they had enough fuel in their tank to walk out victorious.

List of individual awards:

Most Valuable Player of the Season: Guru Prasanth, Hyderabad Black Hawks

Best Emerging Player of the Season: Ibin Jose, Bengaluru Torpedoes

Best Spiker of the Season: Guru Prasanth, Hyderabad Black Hawks

Best Setter of the Season: Mohan Ukkrapandian, Calicut Heroes

Best Blocker of the Season: Jose Sandoval, Calicut Heroes

Best Libero of the Season: Ramkumar Ramanathan, Chennai Blitz

Best Coach of the Season: Dakshinamoorthy S, Ahmedabad Defenders