|Champions Malava in a team picture before their final match against Cheptil. Malava beat Cheptil 3-1 sets. [PHOTO: OSCAR PILIPILI/STANDARD]|
By oscar pilipili in bujumbura, burundi
Malava and Cheptil retained volleyball titles as the curtains came down on East African Secondary Schools Championships in Bujumbura, Burundi.
Malava defeated compatriots and archrivals Cheptil 3-1 (25-17, 23-25-25-21, 25-22) in an epic girls’ volleyball final to claim the trophy and achieve their second regional title in as many years.
Cheptil returned home with boys’ trophy after they dismissed Paul Bitok side, Indatwa of Rwanda in straight 3-0 sets of 25-20, 25-18, 25-22 during finals played at Lycee Saint Espirit grounds.
The match between Malava and Cheptil, as expected, was a show of power and skill, but the former with help of experienced players like Violet Makuto, Edna Mwombe, Eglay Kulova, Melvin Kasaya, and Peris Sawa scored crucial points to win the first set 25-17.
Malava started the second set with purpose and good attacks by Makuto and Kulova saw them take 6-4 lead.
Cheptil improved their blocks and skilful net play by Phosica Kasisi, Lilian Chepkemei and Lydia Jepkosgei was them score quick points and catch up with Malava at 8-8.
Cheptil then overtook Malava and opened two-point gap at 10-8, 13-9 and stretched it to four at 14-10.
Malava attacked at will from the left and perfect spikes by Mwombe helped the champions to tie the score at 15-15 forcing Cheptil coach Grace Betty to call for time out to reorganise her charges. The pep talk did not help Cheptil much as Malava maintained the tempo scoring two successive points to take 17-15 lead.
But exuberant Cheptil, who appeared to play as if they had little to lose, trailed Malava closely and tied at 17-17, 19-19 before an ace off Diana Simiyu temporarily restored the champions’ lead at 20-19.
Cheptil with skilful net play by Kasisi then overtook Malava at 23-22 before Winnie Chepkemei attack and Mercy Chepchirchir successful blocks on Makuto handed the Champions the set at 25-22.