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KCB prove too good for Pipeline, reclaim national title

 KCB's Mercy Moim celebrates after beating Kenya Pipeline to win the 2023 KVF women's National League title at Kasarani Gymnasium.[Stafford Ondego, Standard]

Jubilant KCB supporters stormed onto the court cheering loudly and waving flags after their team upset the immediate former champions Kenya Pipeline to win the 2023 National Women's Volleyball League.

The 2022 Africa Club champions KCB reclaimed the title with a 3-1 (18-25, 25-19, 25-21,25-21) victory during the electrifying final and deciding match of the national playoffs at Kasarani Indoor Arena on Wednesday.

Led by captain Rose Magoi, Pipeline were a better side as they won the first set 25-18.

KCB settled down in the second set as both teams tied 2-2, 5-5, 7-7 before the bankers extended the lead after another 14-14 tie. 

KCB's Esther Mutinda, Emmaculate Nekesa, Mercy Moim and captain Edith Wisa combined well to ensure they levelled the tally at 1-1 courtesy of a 25-19 victory.

In the third set, KCB came back strongly to open their shelves and take a comfortable 5-1 lead. However, Pipeline narrowed the gap to 10-8 as the match remained a see-saw affair.

Confident KCB mounted more pressure to extend the gap to 17-11 with Belinda Baraza playing a key role as Pipeline chased the score. The bankers won 25-21.

The fourth set was a close affair despite the bankers taking the leadership. As the clock ticked, KCB wrapped up the match 25-21.

In another women's match, former champions Kenya Prisons finished third after beating the Directorate of Criminal Investigation (DCI) 3-1 (25-21,19-25,25-16,25-21).

Prisons boasting the services of experienced Malkia Strikers players Yvonne Wavinya, Ann Lowen among others did not disappoint under coach Josp Barasa.

However, DCI coached by Daniel Bor had captain Jane Mumbua, Marion Makonjo and libero Peninah Nafula playing their hearts out.

In the men's third place playoff match, Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) defeated Kenya Defence Force (KDF) 3-1 (30-28, 25-11,17-25,25-18) to end their 2023 league in style and qualify for the Africa Club championships for the third time.

 GSU players; Naftali Chumba, Dominic Ruto and Joshua Kimaru block a strrike from Kenya Prisons during their Kenya Volleyball Federation playoffs for men and women at Kasarani Gymnasium in Nairobi on October 04, 2023. [Stafford Ondego, Standard]

However, the dockers were pushed to the corner especially in the first set when they narrowly won 30-28.

Both teams exchanged the lead before KPA through hard-hitting Elijah Bosire, Kevin Kipchumba and Chris Owalla overpowered their opponents with hard shots.

Both teams had tied 10-10, 17-17, 18-18, 19-19, 25-25, 28-28 before tactful David Thuita killed the set for the dockers under coach James Ontere.

KPA did not allow the soldiers to take charge of the second set after they got off strongly to take an early 4-1 lead, which they extended to another convincing 14-7 lead before wrapping up the match 25-11.

KDF had little to offer in this set despite Cornelius Rono, Micah Lagat and Moses Macharia playing their hearts out.

KDF went back for their weapons in the third set and did not give KPA space to breath as they tormented them from the word go.

The soldiers took a 3-0 lead in the early stages and extended the lead to 13-8 making it hard for the dockers to recover. Nick Kimutai and Anthony Chimanyi were outstanding for KDF in the third set.

However, poor services and receptions cost KDF the fourth set thus giving their opponents an advantage to easily win the set 25-18 to wrap up the game at 3-1.

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