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After winning the inaugural edition of the RuPay Pro Volleyball League (PVL), Chennai Spartans are keeping the Indian flag high in the 2019 Asian Mens Club Volleyball Championship, being held in Taiwan.
The team that consists of some of the biggest stars of the league has won matches against clubs from Thailand, Qatar, Australia and the host nation and finds itself in a strong position to bag a medal ahead of the Wednesday quarter-final encounter against the Vietnamese club T.P HCM.
The team didn't start the tournament on a bright note and suffered defeat at the hands of TNC Kazchrome (Kazakhstan). But it hasn't looked back since then. Powered by some superlative performances by Jerome Vineeth, it went on to rack up back-to-back wins in the next four games, the latest of which came against the home team Taichung Bank. It lost to the Indian club in the tiebreaker.
Rudy Verhoeff and Ruslans Sorokins have been vital cogs in the team's wheel in Taiwan. Verhoeff who represented Canada in 2016 Rio Olympics heaped praise on Vineeth ahead of the match. "He has been outstanding for us from the start of the tournament and it's great that he has carried forward his superb form from the RuPay Pro Volleyball League to here. It's great for everyone in the team to play around such a confident individual as it lifts our spirits up," Verhoeff said.
Chennai skipper Shelton Moses expressed joy at the team's performance, but cautioned against complacency. "The way we lost the first game, we were not too happy with ourselves for we knew what we are capable of achieving. Results in the following games is the reflection of the confidence we have in us as a team. But it's important to not lose focus, especially now that the tournament has reached the knockout stage. We will give our best and try to advance to the next stage," he said.
Ahead of the big match on Wednesday, there was good news for Indian volleyball lovers -- the quarterfinal between the Spartans and T.P HCM will be streamed live on Sony Liv.