Volley of a time!

I haven't played a proper volley-ball match after school. Without surprise, I jumped at the chance to play for Oracle in the Genie Inter-corporate tournament. Wow, a tournament after almost 6 years. Our team included - Vipul (our kaptan), Shailendra, Arvind, Madhu, Nagraj, Binish, Jaiganesh , Navaneeth, Sekar and I. The team configuration was to be 6 players plus 3 reserves. Vipul, generously, chose to be the non-playing captain.

The teams were divided into 3 groups and Oracle was in Group C, a group that was almost on par with us. Some of the teams like the ones from Accenture BPO, Tata Teleservices, Sasken and Bosch were outright professional outfits. They were in other groups and we would get to meet one of them only in the next round.

Our first match was against Ittiam. A pretty good team, except that they lacked the co-ordination that we could garner and more importantly the cool that we exuded. We sweeped both the sets, but not without a fight. The scores were 25-16 and 25-23. Special credit needs to go to Nagraj. Not so long out of college and with all the skills of a college team player, he helped us through the match. And to Sekar, who was our all-round player and always well in control. The second set was close but Ittiam never found the cool that we had. By the end of the match, our team had bonded well and we were sufficiently co-ordinated.

The next match was almost 3 hours later. The gang finished lunch and decided to stretch our legs, at the risk of losing our legs. Yeah, that's right, cos the best place we found to relax was the divider on the internal road with an occasional vehicle trying to run over us. Shailendra even made up the headlines for the next day's papers - "Oracle plays so well that they lose their legs".

Our opponents, Axa, made it just in time. Axa seemed better than Ittima, but we were stoned by our new-found rhythm and that made a difference. The lunch and the long wait had dulled our senses a bit. It took us a while to get into the game, but soon we were cruising along. And another clean sweep. Two sets to nil; 25-x and 25-x . The match saw many long rallies and as Vipul later pointed out we won 10-out-of-10 on every long rally.

Day two was to be the exact opposite of the previous day. We didn't know this then, nor after the first match. The first match of the day was our last league match and against LogicaCMG. Statistically, we didn't have to win that match to advance to the next round. Knowing that made us let our guard down, a bit and we couldn't ever get back on track. LogicaCMG won against us in three sets. The score-board read: 25-16, 17-25 , 9-15. We did put up a good fight towards the end. Well, we were through to the semi-finals anyway.

The semi-final match was against Hughes - a controlled team that emerged the surprising leader of Group B. We were determined to win the match and our spirits were up. But to our own surprise we never got into the game. Hughes won by straight sets. x-25, 16-25.

Our reach-the-final dream was shattered. But we made it to the semis with almost nil practice. That put is in the top four out of the 12 represented teams. That was quite an achievement. It had been two days of unbirdled fun. Though we weren't satisfied, we went home pleased with ourselves and with rock-hard stiff bodies :-). As they say, there is always a next time, a next tournament. The hunger lingers!

Three cheers to the Oracool team.

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