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Pipeline’s eighth African title dream shattered

Coach Japheth Munala passes instruction to his girls /PHOTO-CAVB

Coach Japheth Munala passes instruction to his girls /PHOTO-CAVB

TUNIS, Tunisia Apr 30- A collapse in the second set began Kenya Pipeline’s crumble as their dream of winning a record eighth African Women Volleyball Club championships when they went down 3-1 to Tunisian side Carthage.

Pipeline began their semi very positively in a tightly contested first set where they withheld resistance from the North Africans to win 25-21. In the second set, Japheth Munala’s girls kept on the same tempo. They managed to pull three clear, going 23-20 and would have killed off the game but lost three points to poor service seeing the Tunisians rally to 23-ups.

The two sides kept in close proximity to each other but Carthage pulled off at the end to win 31-29 and give themselves hope. The third set was equally highly contested but the Tunisians managed to hold off and win 25-23.

Pipeline were drained in the fourth set and Carthage proceeded to win easily 25-15.

“It is so heartbreaking for us because this is a game we would have won. The second set specifically was catastrophic for us because we were in a good position to win it and that would have given us confidence for the final set,” vice captain Triza Atuka told Capital Sport.

They will now face off with Rwanda Revenue Authority in the third and fourth play-off match on Saturday night, hoping to come back with at least a bronze medal.

Pipeline last won the title in 2005 and after reaching the final seven times out of their last 11 attempts, they felt they had a chance to push for the title.

Carthage will now meet defending champions Al Ahly in the final. Kenya’s other representatives Prisons will be facing Algeria’s GSP in the 7/8 play off.

The Kenyan teams are expected back in the country on Monday morning and will have only few days rest before a bulk of them head into the national team camp which is preparing for Olympic Qualifiers in June as well as the Grand Prix which begins a week later.

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