Prime Volleyball League 2023 - News

Calicut’s opposite Jerome Vinith Charles (source:

Calicut’s opposite Jerome Vinith Charles

The last leg of India’s RuPay Prime Volleyball League powered by A23 regular season, consisting of eight games to be played at the Regional Sports Centre (Rajiv Gandhi Indoor Stadium) in Kochi, starts on Friday with a clash between Calicut Heroes and Chennai Blitz. The weekend will offer another three matches before the competition climaxes next week to determine the semifinalists and eventually the second championship title-holders in the history of the league.

Calicut are fourth in the current standings on six points and a 3-1 win-loss record. They are one of the two teams to have played only four matches so far and one of the three teams to have lost only once since the start of the regular season some three weeks ago. If Cuban middle blocker Jose Antonio Sandoval and his teammates manage to hammer out a 5-0 whitewash and take three points as they meet Chennai Blitz on Friday at 19:00 local time (13:30 UTC), it will propel them straight to the top of the table. Chennai are next-to-last in the standings on 1-4 and two points, but still have a mathematical shot at making the semifinals. When the two teams met last year, Blitz celebrated a 3-2 (9–15, 15–12, 15–13, 15–9, 12–15) win, but it was Heroes that eventually finished the regular season in third place and progressed to the semis.

"We are excited to play in front of the fans in our home state,” said Heroes’ outside hitter Ashwin Raj Mahesh. “Kerala has always been big on volleyball and we truly want to show what we are capable of, after facing our defeat against Ahmedabad Defenders this season. We will give Chennai a good fight."

"We still believe we can get wins in the tournament. We have good-quality players in our team and while Calicut are a strong team and will enjoy home crowd support, we are equally capable of potentially causing an upset," commented Blitz’s middle Akhin GS.

Calicut will not have much time to rest as they will hit the court again 24 hours later for Saturday’s encounter with the leg’s true hosts Kochi Blue Spikers. Kochi have yet to win a game this season. They are bottom of the table in eighth place on 0-4 and zero points, but with three home games in hand, they have a good opportunity to change the course of the season and even shoot for the semifinals. Last season Heroes and Blue Spikers put on a hard-fought battle with the squad from Calicut emerging with a 3-2 (15–12, 15–9, 9–15, 9–15, 15–11) win.

Sunday’s programme in Kochi will offer two matches.

It will start at 19:00 (13:30) with Blue Spikers entertaining Ahmedabad Defenders. Brazilian middle Valter Da Cruz Neto and his Kochi teammates will try to beat the odds as they go against last year’s silver medallists and the current table leaders. Spearheaded by one of the league’s top three attackers so far, opposite Angamuthu Ramaswamy, Ahmedabad lead the standings with nine points and a 4-1 win-loss record. They are one of only two teams to have achieved a 5-0 win this season. Such a straight-set victory is particularly valuable as it brings three points to the winners. During the first Prime Volleyball League season, Defenders claimed a 3-2 (15–14, 15–14, 11–15, 14–15, 15–10) win over Blue Spikers.

The weekend will close with a duel between Hyderabad Black Hawks and rookies Mumbai Meteors, starting at 21:30 (16:00) on Sunday. It will be Hyderabad’s last game of the regular season. They have already played six of their matches and stand third on 4-2 and eight points. Their squad features the league’s best scorer (96 points) and best attacker Guru Prashanth, best server (eight aces) Hemanth P and best defender (37 digs) Anand K. Mumbai, on the other hand, are conducted by the league’s best setter Aravindhan S. In their debut season, Meteors are the other team to have mastered a 5-0 whitewash, but having lost all four of their other games, they stand sixth in the table with only three points.

During the regular season, each Prime Volleyball League game consists of five sets. A 3-2 or a 4-1 win carries two points towards the standings, while a clear 5-0 victory brings three points to the winners. The top four teams of the final regular season standings will advance to the semifinals.

The RuPay Prime Volleyball League powered by A23 is telecast live on Sony Sports Ten 1 (English), Sony Sports Ten 3 (Hindi), Sony Sports Ten 4 (Tamil and Telugu) and Sony Sports Ten 2 (Malayalam) channels in India and is streamed on **VBTV** outside the Indian subcontinent.

RuPay Prime Volleyball League third leg schedule in Kochi:

Feb 24, 19:00 local (13:30 UTC): Calicut Heroes v Chennai Blitz

Feb 25, 19:00 local (13:30 UTC): Kochi Blue Spikers v Calicut Heroes

Feb 26, 19:00 local (13:30 UTC): Kochi Blue Spikers v Ahmedabad Defenders

Feb 26, 21:30 local (16:00 UTC): Hyderabad Blackhawks v Mumbai Meteors

Feb 27, 19:00 local (13:30 UTC): Kolkata Thunderbolts v Chennai Blitz

Feb 28, 19:00 local (13:30 UTC): Bengaluru Torpedoes v Calicut Heroes

Mar 1, 19:00 local (13:30 UTC): Mumbai Meteors v Kochi Blue Spikers

Mar 2, 19:00 local (13:30 UTC): Kolkata Thunderbolts v Ahmedabad Defenders