DHARAN, Feb 12: Nepal Police Club (NPC) set up a semifinal clash with Armed Police Force (APF) Club in the First Easy Riders International Invitational Women´s Volleyball Tournament in Dharan on Tuesday. New Diamond Academy and Western Region Volleyball Association also registered victories to complete the semifinal line-up.
NPC defeated Western Region in straight sets to top Pool A. As both the teams are considered as tournament favorites, Tuesday´s group stage match was expected to be a tough battle but NPC sealed a comfortbale victory.
NPC won the match 25-22, 25-21, 25-19 at the Public High School court. NPC veteran Neeta Shah was declared the player-of-the-match. NPC had defeated the host Eastern Region Volleyball Association on Monday.
Despite the defeat, Western Region qualified for the semifinals as Pool A runner-up. Western Region had defeated the host Eastern Region on Sunday.
NPC coach Rupesh Bista applauded the performance of experienced players in his team. "We had not expected such a comfortable victory over Western Region," said Bista.
Western Region assistant coach Kaushilya Khatri said her team made defensive errors and service was not up to the mark. She also said that absence of regular player Aruna Shahi in the match due to injury affected the team´s rhythm.
Meanwhile, New Diamond Academy, Kathmandu defeated APF to top Pool B of the tournament. New Diamond, which featured young players, received overwhelming response from the local crowd during the match. APF claimed the first set 25-17 but New Diamond took the second and third sets with identical scores of 25-22.
APF leveled the match winning the fourth set 25-10 but New Diamond girls won the final set 15-7. Salina Shrestha of the winning side was adjudged the player-of-the-match. New Diamond had defeated DSA Koch Bihar, India on Monday.
New Diamond coach Kumar Rai said that his side won the match though he had given up hopes of winning. "Our service and blocking were poor in the match. However, the five-set victory has boosted our morale. We hope to reach the final if our captain (Ramila Tandukar) puts up a good show in the semifinal," said Rai.
APF coach Kapil Kishor Shrestha said that his team suffered defeat as they had to play two matches in a day immediately after arriving in Dharan.
Earlier, APF thrashed DSA Koch Bihar, India in straight sets on Tuesday morning and qualified for the semifinals despite losing against New Diamond. APF thrashed the Indian side 25-12, 25-14, 25-9. Nima Shrestha of APF was adjudged the player-of-the-match.
Both the semifinals of the tournament will be played on Wednesday.