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Kerala cruises into women’s final

ANGAMALY: Captain V. Soumya came up with an inspiring performance as host Kerala crushed Chhattisgarh 25-12, 25-8, 25-12 and marched into the women’s final of the 11th National youth volleyball championship at the St. Joseph’s School Ground here on Friday evening.

Kerala, a mix of talent from Kannur, Mahatma Gandhi and Calicut universities, was superior in all departments. Soumya, from varsities National champion Kannur, led the attack, easily finding the gaps in the Chhattisgarh back court. Deepika Baburaj and N. Deepa supported her well.

Chhattisgarh had just one tall player, captain Varsha Dhuware, and she had to carry most of the load in attack and block. And with the Kerala blockers, Anila Zacharias and the tall N.P. Bijina, keeping her on a tight leash for a major part of the match, Chhattisgarh could never breathe easy.

With Soumya using setter N.N. Shyna’s lifts well, the Chhattisgarh girls appeared a confused lot midway through the match. They left huge gaps and the girls collided with each other a couple of times.

Deepika, Bijina and Anila also served a few aces which made the match a quick affair.

Kerala, last year’s runner-up, will meet the winner of Saturday’s Tamil Nadu-Himachal Pradesh semifinal, in Sunday’s final.

Kerala men entered the semifinals late on Thursday after defeating Andhra Pradesh 25-17, 31-29, 25-14. The host will meet Haryana in the semifinal on Saturday.

The results: Women’s semifinal: Kerala bt Chhattisgarh 25-12, 25-8, 25-12. Men: Kerala bt Andhra Pradesh 25-17, 31-29, 25-14. — Principal Correspondent

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