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Volleyball: New champion expected as KCB set up exciting title-decider with Pipeline

by kenya-tribune
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The wheat will be separated from the chaff on Sunday when former champions Kenya Pipeline battle African Clubs champions KCB Women’s Volleyball Team for the Kenya Volleyball Federation National League title at Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani indoor Arena.

Pipeline and KCB head into Sunday’s match with unbeaten record having won two of their opening matches against defending champions Kenya Prisons and impressive Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI).

But Pipeline have an upper hand considering they have six points while KCB have five points.

To set up the decider, KCB – who had laboured to see off DCI 3-2 in their opening tie on Friday – had an easy ride against Prisons 3-0 (25-21,25-22, 25-17) while Pipeline continued with their perfect start, beating DCI 3-0 (25-18,25-19,25-19).

Kenya Pipeline middle blocker Gladys Ekaru (centre) attacks as Peris Kanus (left) and Mercy Iminza block

Kenya Pipeline middle blocker Gladys Ekaru (centre) attacks as Peris Kanus (left) and Mercy Iminza of Directorate of Criminal Investigations block during their Kenya Volleyball Federation National League play-offs match at Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani indoor arena on January 21, 2023. 

Photo credit: Sila Kiplagat | Nation Media Group

In the other match on Sunday, DCI will take on Prisons in a third place play-off.

In the match against Prisons, KCB coach Japheth Munala kept faith in the squad that struggled to beat DCI while Prisons’ coach Josp Barasa altered the squad that lost to Kenya Pipeline.

Barasa chose to start with setter Herma Kipyegon in place of Joy Lusenaka as Anne Lowem started  in place of Joan Jelagat. Opposite Yvonne Wavinya was moved to outside hitter to partner Brackcides Agala with Pamela Masaisai starting on the bench.

It was a see-saw affair in the first set 4-3, 4-4 and 5-5 before KCB pulled away 11-8. Promising outside hitter Mariam Musa, setter Emmaculate Nekesa and experienced Mercy Moim combined well as KCB stretched their lead to 16-12  and 21-14.

KCB capitalised on their opponents’ disorganisation as they extended the lead 23-17 before they won the set 25-21.

In the second set, Prisons came alive and led 14-10 and 16-14 as Agala, Kipyegon and Wavinya combined well upfront.

Prisons will blame themselves for making unforced errors having opened a five-point gap to allow KCB back in the game.

Moim, Belinda Barasa and Musa then mounted stuff blocks as KCB closed the gap 15-16 before they tied 20-20.

Prisons looked ordinary as KCB captain Edith Wisa and Nekesa earned quick points with their powerful attacks to overtake their opponents enroute taking the set 25-22.

KCB middle blocker Belinda Barasa (right) attacks as Joan Jelagat (left) and Brackcides Agala block

KCB middle blocker Belinda Barasa (right) attacks as Joan Jelagat (left) and Brackcides Agala of Kenya Prisons block during their Kenya Volleyball Federation National League play-offs match at Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani indoor arena on January 21, 2023. 

Photo credit: Sila Kiplagat | Nation Media Group

Prisons offered little resistance in the third set as KCB took charge from the fist whistle comfortably leading 11-8 and 16-11. KCB coach Munala then rested Nekesa for Faith Imodia who then propelled the bankers to 21-15 before they strolled to the win 25-17.

“We got off to a shaky start against DCI but I’m happy we had a good display today. The stakes are high ahead of tomorrow’s match but I’m not under pressure because our departments are all working well. We have studied our opponents, I have coached some of the players in the (Pipeline) team before and I know what we will be dealing with,” said Munala. 

“We will be keen to do less mistakes and hopefully emerge winners. We have a good side, the experienced players have made it easy for the upcoming players and that’s what teamwork is all about,” said Pipeline coach Paul Gitau.

Sunday fixtures 

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