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KCB crowned Kenya Volleyball Federation women's league champions

 Elizabeth Marian (left) and Juliana Namutira of KCB Bank block a strike from Kenya Prisons during their Kenya Volleyball Federation KVF Finals at Kasarani Gymnasium. [Stafford Ondego, Standard]

Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) beat Kenya Prisons 2-1 to be crowned the 2023-2024 Kenya Volleyball Federation women’s league champions as the season ended on Sunday at the Kasarani indoor arena.

The bankers successfully defended their title despite a false start that saw them lose the first tie of the three-match series to former champions Kenya Prisons who were looking to end a two-year trophy drought.

Prisons failed to salvage the trophy they last won in 2021 despite taking a 1-0 lead. KCB showed class and resilience as they outclassed Prisons thanks to brilliant performances from outside Juliana Namutira who emerged as the season’s most valuable player, Mariam Musa and setter Esther Mutinda.  

KCB coach Japheth Munala was over the moon saying his charges played according to plan.

“Defending our title was our main objective and I’m happy we achieved our goal. We had a slow start to the series, but this win shows that the end matters. I must commend the girls for showing grit when it mattered most and finishing strongly,” Munala said.

Buoyed by Saturday’s victory that handed them a lifeline, KCB were the better side from the onset and called the shots as Prisons struggled to keep up with the pressure. KCB ensured they maintained a lead of between three to five points in the first set even though Prisons had recovered to level the score at six points apiece.

KCB’s Belinda Barasa oozed class as her side pushed the score to 13-8 prompting Prisons coach Baraza to call for a timeout. However, Baraza’s pep talk would have no effect on his charges as they failed to contain the bankers who seemed more determined to firm grip on their trophy. 

KCB remained in the lead to take the first set 25-22.

The second set was evenly contested with Prisons taking their only lead to the 10-point mark with the score at 10-9 in their favour. However, KCB once again took charge of the match scoring points at will as Prisons struggled and made costly errors that saw them lose the second set 17-25.

Knowing too well that the title was theirs to lose, KCB played like the champions they are to seal the victory 25-21 and bag their second title in a row.

In the men’s contest, Kenya Prisons rallied from a set down to beat former champions General Service Unit (GSU) 3-1 and retain their title.

Having won the first tie of the three-match series, Prisons fired from all cylinders to successfully defend their title despite a slow start that saw them lose the first set 19-25 to GSU.

Determined to complete the task and end the series, Prisons recovered to win the second set by the same margin.

GSU, who were looking to recapture the title they lost to the wardens last year, put up a spirited fight but were overpowered. Prisons would take the third and fourth sets 25-21 and 25-19 to win the series 2-0 and extend their reign.  

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