Kopila Upreti (R) of Nepal Police Club spikes as players of Armed Police Force attempt to block her during their semifinal match of the Fourth Prime Minister Cup Women’s Volleyball Tournament in Nepalgunj on Tuesday.
KATHMANDU, Feb 28: Defending champion Railway Team India and runner-up Armed Police Force (APF) will renew their rivalry in the final of the Fourth Prime Minister Cup Women's Volleyball Tournament.
To book the places in the final, Railway and APF both registered straight sets victories over departmental sides Tribhuvan Army Club and Nepal Police Club respectively.
In the match played at Nepalgunj Stadium's covered hall, Railway edged past Army 25-16, 25-23, 25-14.
Army team which had failed to score more than 10 points in each set in the last league round match against APF had made positive start against Railway. Army had thrown tough fight against Railway team which was studded with two Indian internationals in the second set as it took 21-19 lead.
However, Army lost its momentum with just four more points required for victory in the set. Railway, which had defeated domestic heavyweight Police and host Mid-Western Region in straight sets in the league round matches, didn't face any pressure in the third set against Army. The visiting team limited Army to just 14 points in the third set.
Army head coach Lok Bahadur Budha who guided his team to the last four in the first participation in the tournament expressed satisfaction toward the performance of his players despite the defeat.
“Railway is a very strong team studded with some Indian national players but my players played well. We had made positive start and the coordination between the girls also was good. But they were nervous during the finishing,” said head coach Budha.
“We are trying hard to improve our performance in every tournament in order to deliver positive result. So reaching semifinal in this tournament is a big boost for us. We aren't disappointed with the outcome of today's match as we played bravely against a strong team,” added Budha. Army will now face departmental rival Police in the third place playoff on Wednesday.
Similarly in the second semifinal clash of the tournament, runner-up of the last edition APF registered victory of 25-13, 25-7, 25-22 over Police.
APF's spiker Saraswati Chaudhary says that her team is ready to avenge last year's defeat against the visiting side. “We have become stronger in comparison to last year. We had problems in block last time but we have improved that aspect this time. Our target is to win the final clash in straight sets,” said Saraswati.
In the summit clash of the third edition of the tournament, the Indian side had defeated departmental side in straight sets.
Saraswati also said that all the aspects including service, receive and spike of the team have been stronger in this tournament. “Strong block can be our main weapon to defeat Railway in the summit clash. So we must be careful in that aspect,” added Saraswati.
APF is studded with the national players including captain Binita Budhathoki, Saraswati Chaudhary, Nebika Chaudhary, Reshma Bhandari and Usha Bista.