Calicut Heroes returned to the top of the standings by beating a confident Kolkata Thunderbolts side 3-2 (15-14, 7-15, 15-11, 13-15, 15-13) in, arguably, the most entertaining match of the RuPay Prime Volleyball League Powered by A23 Season 2.

A neck-to-neck contest between the two saw the team from Kerala relying mostly on defence since their attack more often than not faltered. In all fairness, although Kolkata Thunderbolts were simply the better team on paper in the attack, Calicut Heroes seemed to have approached the fixture with a certain plan which, in fact, worked wonders.

After losing the first set, owing to a string of unforced errors, the Ashwal Rai-led side from West Bengal got right back into the game. The topsy-turvy nature of the game was such that it took the final set to decide the winner of the tie.

That being said, let’s take a look at three key moments that defined Calicut Heroes’ uplifting win over Kolkata Thunderbolts.

Defence was the key to Calicut’s success

As mentioned earlier, Calicut did their best to keep Kolkata out of the game. During the opening part of the fixture, the southern team was aided by back-to-back unforced errors. As the game progressed, however, the team, captained by Matt Hilling, started making more blocks.

This infuriated Kolkata to the extent that they went on to make 21 unforced errors throughout the game. In the end, Calicut had the last laugh as they finished with seven blocks as compared to Kolkata’s two.

Kolkata looked frustrated

It’s a given that for a team that has won all the matches before Thursday’s encounter, a defence such as Calicut’s was quite frustrating to deal with. This was made evident especially in the third set when Kolkata just couldn’t get their service right.

Now, Kolkata did score more points than their opponents on the night across five sets (68 as compared to Calicut’s 65), but the fact remains that they failed to breach a sturdy Calicut defence.

Recipe to beat Kolkata?

Thursday’s defeat against Calicut was Kolkata’s first loss of the 2023 season. So far, the team has put in a great performance and while the outing could be attributed to a bit of bad luck, it must be noted that this approach can be adapted by other opponents in order to keep Kolkata’s attack at bay.

If that is the case, Kolkata Thunderbolts must soon come up with a counter approach.