Rekha S of India hits a shot while Saraswoti Chaudhary of Nepal makes an attempt to block the shot during a volleyball friendly match between Nepal and India at Dashrath Stadium, Kathmandu on Thursday.(Bijay Gajmer/Republica)
KATHMANDU, July 28: Nepali women's volleyball team was defeated in straight sets by India in the first match of the two-match friendly series on Thursday.
Nepal, however, gave a tough challenge to the South Asian giant despite facing a 3-0 loss. India won the match 25- 20, 25-19 and 27-25 at the National sports Council's covered hall.
Nepal's coach Sudesh Rimal, however, was positive despite his side's defeat. “I am satisfied over the performance of my team. They played well despite short training. It is a very good sign to reach 20 points in every set against an opponent like India. The performance would have been even better had we got more time for preparation,” Rimal said at the post-match conference.
Rimal was also full of praise for his spikers. “We have very good attackers like I said before and the attack was our strongest part today.”
He, however, was critical about blocking. “We need to work on our blocking part,” said Rimal, who has taken the friendly series as preparation for the upcoming South Asian Games.
“Such friendly matches will help boost the confidence level of players. Nepali girls could do far better with regular training,” said Rimal.
Nepal's captain Binita Budhathoki also expressed her satisfaction over the team's performance. “This is the best performance of my career against India. Putting up such performance against India is really a positive sign,” she said.
Nepal was very close to winning the third set before losing the match. The third set ended 27-25 though Nepal was leading 24-22 at a point.
Among Nepali players, Pratibha Mali stole the show scoring 26 points alone. Aruna Shahi was the second highest scorer for Nepal with seven points.
Indian coach Bhaishali Bhadtare was also full of praise for the Nepali team. She pointed out that Nepal could reach a higher level with more exposure.
“They couldn't win today due to the lack of experience despite getting very close to victory. They can do better with more exposure,” she said.
Bhadtare also pointed out that the blocking was the weakest part of the Nepali team. “I found that blocking was the weakest department of the Nepali team. They need more number of taller players to improve that.”
She also lauded Nepal's spiker. “Number 11 (Pratibha Mali) was so impressive. Nepal should nurture her talent.”
Indian captain Poornima MS was happy with the team's performance and shared that the competition was tough. “Nepal gave tough challenge but we played well and registered victory,” she said.
Nepal will play the second friendly on Friday in the same venue.