NYERI, Kenya, Mar 5 – General Service Unit (GSU) men and Kenya Prisons women volleyball clubs lifted their first trophies in the opening leg of the season after beating Kenya Defence Forces and Kenya Commercial Bank respectively in the KVF Challenge Cup finals held Sunday at Kamkunji Grounds in Nyeri.
GSU snatched the title from the mouth of hosts KDF with a 3-1 (25-18,24-26,27-25, 25-23) win in the men’s finals while a youthful Prisons side needed a tie-breaker to thwart off stiff opposition from a resurgent KCB to win 3-2 (22-25, 25-17,25-17,19-25, 15-6).
Prisons had found themselves trailing in the opening set when the bankers cashed in with a 25-22 set score but the wardresses displayed great courage to come back to the game.
They took the crunch tie to a 1-1 tie before pulling 2-1 up after winning the second and third sets with identical 25-17 scores. KCB however put their feet back on the match to level in the fourth set and send the tightly contested final into a tie breaker.
Former Prisons’ attacker Dorcas Jepleting who crossed over to Kencom House this season played a key role for the bankers but she could not help her side tame her juniors at Prisons who are out to permanently cement their positions into the senior team.
Coach Vernon Khainga could not help but watch his side run out of gas at the most crucial moment of the game which saw them lose 15-6 in the final set to hand Prisons their first of the seven titles up for grabs this season.
Prisons was guided to the title by assistant coach Josp Baraza.
GSU on the other hand, had to bring their A game in a tensed men’s finals after surviving an ambush laid by the army side in the second set.
The Ruaraka side cancelled KDF’s 26-24 leveler but ran out of ammunition in the middle of the battle when the paramilitary side held their ground to neutralize the KDF attack in the third set to open a set advantage.
In the run up to the final, KCB knocked off Tetu High School with an easy 3-0 (25-12,25-18,25-7) win in the semis while Prisons locked the students of Mount Kenya University in the other semi.
KDF on the other hand denied Forest Rangers a final place after shooting them down by straight sets (25-12,25-10,25-18) to book a final duel with GSU.
The ‘Red Berets’ had beaten Prisons Mombasa by similar sets, (25-13,25-21,25-17) in the other semi.
Action now shifts to the second leg cum Nairobi Water Open tournament to be staged next month at Ndakaini.
-By Elvince Joshua