By Pallab Chowdhury
“So close, yet so far” was the feeling after losing the finals of the recently concluded Symbiosis Sports League. With high hopes and hours of practice backing it we went to Pune to participate in the Symbiosis Inter Institute Volleyball Tournament. The format of the tournament was knockout so one loss and you’re back home. The aura and ambience of the event was cheerful and energetic with the weather in favour of the athletes. The first day washed out because of the rain and chances of rain threat was looming on other days too. So to avoid cancelling matches the officials decided to make every set a 15 point affair. Our first match was against SSE. Before going out to play John, our captain discussed the strategy and induced the self-belief in each of us that we are the best and we should play like one. All the hard work paid off as we defeated them in straight sets and were into the quarter finals. With clouds staying away from the venue the quarter final match was scheduled to be on the same evening against SCIT. After a three setter tiring battle we defeated them and reached the semi finals. There SLS Pune, tagged the best team of the tournament was against us. We never belittled us and kept the faith that we are here to win the gold. Everyone around the arena expected SLS Pune team to rout us just like they have done throughout the tournament. But we surprised everyone with our performance. SLS Hyderabad team were alongside the court to cheer for us. Even the officials were astonished to see the way performed in the first set which eventually we won. After losing the second set we were leading going in to the later half of decider set. We were one point away from winning before committing mistakes which lead to a defeat. Defeat in the semis meant we still had the bronze medal match in our hands, which we won against SCMS in straight sets. Securing third place in an event of 22 participants is itself a glory but in our minds we knew we deserved to be the number one. Nevertheless we won respect and applauds of many and our team captain John Joseph got selected for Symbiosis International University team. We knew we gave our all during the course of the tournament and we played our best but coming back with the trophy would have been the better sight.