TN, Railways retain national volleyball titles

Chennai: Holders Tamil Nadu men and Railways women extended their lease over the titles, defeating Kerala teams in the finals of the 59th senior national volleyball championships on Sunday.

Tamil Nadu rallied from a 0-2 deficit to quell Kerala 3-2 while star-studded Railway women shrugged off a brief challenge in the first game to score a 3-1 victory.

Kerala men, who ousted last year runners up Uttarakhand in the semifinal, gave some anxious moments to the hosts winning the first two sets and fought hard in the decider. But Tamil Nadu brought out the champion stuff to recover in time and win 22-25 23-25 25-20 25-13 17-15 in the nearly two hour long duel.

The formidable Railway women were stretched in the first set but found their touch to score a 23-25 25-21 25-12 25-13 in 94 minutes.

In the men`s final, the decider swung both ways and at one stage the teams were tied at 14-all. But Tamil Nadu came up with telling net blocks at vital moments to seal the issue.

It was the second successive title for Tamil Nadu who had emerged champions last year in Gwalior while Railways women scored a hat-trick. They had finished on top in Visakhapatnam (2008) and Gwalior (2009).

Railways and Karnataka claimed the bronze medal finishing third in men`s and women`s play-off matches respectively.

Railways men overcame Uttarakhand 25-22, 23-25, 18-25, 25-22, 15-8 while Karnataka women defeated West Bengal 13-25, 25-22, 25-16, 25-15 in a 95-minute battle.