Ahmedabad Defenders restored their place at the top of the table by getting the better of Calicut Heroes 3-2 (15-13, 13-15, 15-13, 13-15, 15-11) in Match 19 of the RuPay Prime Volleyball League Powered by A23 Season 2.

To everyone’s surprise, Ahmedabad did not look tired at all despite taking the mat yesterday against Chennai Blitz where they walked out 5-0 victorious. On Monday, the team found the chink in Calicut’s armour to hand them their first defeat of the season.

Leading the Ahmedabad team from the front was Danial Moatazedi, their captain Muthusamy Appavu and LM Manoj. Thanks to their output, the team managed to push Calicut on the backfoot right from the start.

LM Manoj cannot be stopped

Ahmedabad Defenders’ LM Manoj was at his usual best against Calicut Heroes. The 25-year-old middle blocker combined well with Moatazedi and Co. to cause all sorts of problems to Calicut’s shaky defence. Manoj’s superiority was such that his team was ahead in the attack for the most part of the game. If only they had an equally sufficient defence, they would have made it to the finish line rather easily.

Something to work on for Ahmedabad

Ahmedabad Defenders played a near-perfect match, to say the very least. The only aspect where they need to put some effort in is to minimise the number of unforced errors. Against Calicut Heroes, the team from Gujarat made 21 errors. To put things into perspective, the figure was just 13 for Calicut Heroes.

Jose Sandoval - Calicut’s lone warrior against Ahmedabad

Unlike Ahmedabad, who looked like a well-balanced unit, Calicut Heroes seemed like a mere shadow of their previous self. For a team that has won each of their last three encounters before Monday’s game, a performance like this casts major doubt on what is to come. Calicut’s struggle was a rare occasion really, but one man who stood out from the rest was Jose Sandoval.

The 27-year-old Cuban middle blocker was crucial for his team right from the start, making important blocks to thwart Ahmedabad’s attack. By the end, he finished with a tally of 14 points, considerably ahead of his closest teammate M Ashwin Raj and Jerome Vinith.