Former champions Kenya Pipeline and KCB won their opening matches as the Kenya Volleyball Federation women’s National League play-offs got underway on Friday at the Moi International Sports Centre Kasarani indoor arena in Nairobi.
The vibrant and 2017 champions Pipeline swept aside defending champions Kenya Prisons 3-0 (25-22, 25-18, 25-19) while KCB Women’s Volleyball Team had to dig deep to see off stubborn Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) 3-2(25-17, 21-25, 25-23, 23-25 and 15-13) in a five-set thriller.
Pipeline will face impressive DCI on Saturday while KCB will square it out with Prisons in another match.
In attendance on the first day of the three-day event were Nyeri Town and Webuye West Members of Parliament Duncan Maina and Dan Wanyama as well as the outgoing KVF president Waithaka Kioni, deputy president Charles Nyaberi, Treasurer Kenneth Tunoi and Nairobi branch chairman Moses Mbuthia among other officials.
Prisons coach Josp Barasa started with Joy Lusenaka, captain Brackcides Agala, libero Elizabeth Wanyama, Joan Jelagat ,Pamela Masaisai, Lorine Chebet and Yvonne Wavinya.
Pipeline Paul Gitau fielded captain Rose Magoi, Triza Atuka, Gladys Ekaru, Pamela Adhiambo, Daisy Chepkorir, Miriam Chelimo and libero Agripina Kundu.
Prisons were first off the blocks leading for the better part of the first set 5-3 and 10-8 before Pipeline recollected themselves to overtake their opponents 15-13 and 17-15.
Atuka’s tricky services then destabilised Prisons’ reception as they trailed 17-20.
Adhiambo, who was fans favourite thanks to her powerful spikes, Magoi and Chelimo then bagged three quick points to stretch the lead 23-21.
Barasa then rested Jelagat and Lusenaka for Herma Kipyego and Anne Lowem but the substitutes couldn’t stop Pipeline who bagged the set 25-22.
In the second set, Pipeline led from the first whistle 4-8 and 10-6 as Prisons gave away points through poor services.
The visibly off-colour Prisons crumbled as Pipeline engaged the gear with Adhiambo powering through Prisons’ leaking blocks with her hard spikes.
Enroute winning the set, Gitau rested youngster Chepkorir for Naomi Too as they comfortably led 18-11.
Agala and Wavinya’s contribution was noticeable as Prisons narrowed the gap 16-22 but at the end, their efforts counted for nothing as they lost the set 18-25.
Prisons regrouped in the third set as Lusenaka, Agala and Wavinya combined well in front of the net to squeeze a 11-10 lead.
Atuka’s powerful services coupled with their opponents unforced error saw Pipeline pull away 16-13 before the combination of Magoi and Chelimo extended Pipeline’s lead to 19-22. They sealed the set at 25-19 to win the match altogether.
In an interview after the win, Pipeline coach Gitau said they needed the win as the outcome was likely to dictate who will emerge champion.
“You don’t change a winning line-up. It is a good place to start from and we hope to build on that going forward. The win against Prisons was important to us and the morale is high,” said Gitau.
“Our finishing was poor but we hope to get our footing in the remaining matches,” said Prisons coach Barasa.