Africa women club silver medallists Kenya Pipeline had excellent teamwork to beat Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) as national volleyball playoffs began on Monday at Kasarani Indoor Arena.
Pipeline, who are also the national women league champions, proved they are well prepared to defend the title they won early this year after they defeated DCI 3-1 (25-26, 25-22, 25-27, 25-17) in a mouthwatering match.
Guided by their head coach Paul Gitau, the oilers did not disappoint in their opening match yesterday and the win was a major boost ahead of Day Two today.
The champions had excellent display of teamwork, with captain Rose Magoi leading her teammates to execute their goals with utter precision.
In the opening set, last season’s best setter Rose Magoi combined well with experienced Naomi Too, hard-hitting outside hitter Pamela Adhiambo and Leonida Kasaya to wrap up the set 25-16.
The second set was a see-saw affair where DCI, under the tutelage of Daniel Bor, gave good account of themselves, with captain Jane Mumbua, Mercy Iminza and Marion Makonjo playing their hearts out to push the set to 25-22, in favour of the oilers.
However in the third set, DCI did their ground work well to push their opponents as the set remained a close affair with both teams exchanging leadership before DCI narrowly won 27-25.
DCI had good blocks and attacks in the third set that kept coach Gitau on toes throughout the tensed set.
Enjoying the experience of Magoi, Pamela Adhiambo, Too, Triza Atuka and Loice Simiyu, Pipeline picked up momentum to produce defensive display before they wrapped up the set 25-17.
In the other women’s match, former Africa women club champions KCB were pushed to the limit before beating Kenya Prisons 3-2 (25-18, 22-25, 25-10, 24-26, 15-13).
The bankers, under coach Japheth Munala, started strongly before they won the first set 25-18.
Prisons, despite enjoying services of experienced players, made uncalled for errors that cost them the first set.
Pamela Jepkirui, stood firm to make a strong comeback that saw Prisons take the second set 25-22 after partnering well with Meldin Sande, Yvonne Wavinya and Lydia Maiyo.
The third set saw captain Edith Wisa, towering Juliana Namutira and Belinda Barasa combine well to outshine their opponents to steer the bankers to a comfortable 25-10 win.
The fourth set was a balanced affair as the teams tied 18-18, 23-23 before Prisons wrapped it 26-24 to force the match to a 2-2 draw.
Both teams were up to the task in the fifth and deciding set as they tied 10-10 before the bankers broke the deadlock before pushing for a narrow 15-13 win.
The bankers should thank their youngster setter Esther Mutinda who stood firm in her debut at the playoffs. The former Kwanthanze student was a thorn in the flesh of her opponents as she was in immense form for the bankers.
Mutinda, Emmaculate Nekesa, Pauline Chemutai, Faith Cherotich, Magdalene Mwende and Elizabeth Mariana are the six players that KCB technical director Paul Bitok signed from Kwanthanze Secondary School.