The semi-finalists of the inaugural edition of RuPay Prime Volleyball League Powered by A23, Hyderabad Black Hawks had a memorable campaign altogether.
Meet PVL Season 1 semifinalists Hyderabad Black Hawks
Published 08:00, 24 Dec 2022
With Argentine head coach Ruben Wolochin at the helm, the youngest team in the league were the only side to have an international coach in Season 1. The team had an absolute roller coaster of a season! They began their campaign on a positive note by defeating heavy favourites, Kochi Blue Spikers 15-12, 15-11, 15-11, 15-10, 13-15 in their opening game.
Their joy was short-lived as Vipul Kumar & co. suffered back-to-back defeats. A 13-15, 10-15, 12-15, 8-15, 15-9-loss against Ahmedabad Defenders was followed by another disappointing loss to Bengaluru Torpedoes 12-15, 15-14, 12-15, 15-11, 13-15. The two defeats along with the injury to their mercurial attacker, Rohit Kumar dealt the Hawks a huge setback early in the season.
Unperturbed by the setback, the young side redeemed themselves with an awe-inspiring victory over Chennai Blitz in their fourth match. The Hawks completed a clean sweep - a first for the season as they beat the Blitz 15-14, 15-11, 15-14, 15-7, 15-13.
The team picked up the momentum thereafter and once again registered a resounding 15-8, 13-15, 15-9, 15-12, 8-15-win over Kolkata Thunderbolts. Young attacker Guru Prasanth caught the attention of many with top notch displays and ensured the Hawks didn't miss Rohit Kumar. The highlight of the game was young libero Anand K’s bicycle kick to save a crucial point during a very tense part of the set.
The Black Hawks ended their league phase with a huge defeat to the Calicut Heroes. The Kerala-based franchise required a clean sweep win to book their semi-finals berth. Unfortunately for the Hawks, they lost all five sets in dramatic fashion and went down 14-15, 10-15, 14-15, 14-15, 9-15.
Nevertheless, having registered three wins and as many losses in the round robin phase, the team advanced to the semi-finals with seven points in six matches.
In the semi-finals, they were up against the formidable Ahmedabad Defenders side who finished top in the league phase. In a closely-fought encounter, the Hyderabad Black Hawks went down in a keenly contested four-set defeat. The final score was 13-15, 12-15, 15-9, 12-15.
The Hawks gave us a glimpse into the future of Indian volleyball. A host of new heroes emerged from the team. John Joseph had an excellent campaign registering 17 blocks at a 40% success rate and was adjudged the Best Blocker of the Season.
Ahead of the RuPay Prime Volleyball League Powered by A23 Season 2, Hyderabad Black Hawks have retained the young trio of John Joseph, Guru Prasanth and ‘flying libero’ Anand K.
Meanwhile, they have also roped in Australian blocker Trent O’Dea and Colombian attacker Carlos Andres Llanos Zamora in the international players draft to bolster their squad. Ranjit Singh, Varun G S, Ashamatullah, Saurabh Maan, Lal Sujan MV, Arun Zacharias Siby and Hemanth P light up their Indian contingent.
Having come close to the title last time out, Hyderabad Black Hawks will be aiming to go all-out for the coveted RuPay Prime Volleyball League Powered by A23 trophy in Season 2.
Hyderabad Black Hawks squad for PVL Season 2
Trent O'Dea (I), Carlos Andres Llanos Zamora (I), Ranjit Singh, Varun G S, Ashamatullah, Saurabh Maan, Lal Sujan MV, Arun Zacharias Siby, Hemanth P, Guru Prasanth (R), John Joseph E J (R), Anand K (R)
I = International ; R = Retained