NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 7 -Seven-time Africa champions Kenya Pipeline begun their search for a joint eighth continental title on a high beating APR of Rwanda by straight sets (26-24, 25-14, 25-12) in the opening match of the ongoing Africa Women Volleyball Club championship in Tunisia.
Japheth Munala started with the strongest lineup, giving veteran setter Janet Wanja the starting role with reigning Kenya Volleyball Federation Most Valuable Player, Triza Atuka at the centre. Others were Leonida Kasaya, Noel Murambi, Esther Wangeci and libero Agripina Kundu but this combination did not scare away the Rwandans who pushed the Kenyan champions in the opening set.
Pipeline started the match on a high note, running away with a tough opening set, 26-24 against a much improved Rwandan side.
The Rwandan Army side were better in the service in the opening set but things scrambled and they ran out of ideas in the second set which Pipeline easily won 25-14 without much fight.
Pipeline took the lead in the first service and never looked back, opening eight point lead by the second technical timeout. After resumption, Rwanda won three consecutive points but a properly executed six-ball by Atuka and an attack by Esther Wangeci on the left restored Pipeline’s lead before killing the set with a block-out from an attack from Murambi to open a two sets advantage into the third set.
Wangeci who returned to Pipeline after one season stay in France scored seven straight points in the third set to help her side open a seven points which forced Rwanda to call for a time out with the score board reading 11-4 in favour of Pipeline.
Pipeline winded up the game with 25-12 to register three points which firmly placed them top in the group C.
Pipeline, last year’s bronze medalists last won this championship in 2005 and they held the record for most titles won for 11 years until last year when Ah Ahly of Egypt broke it by lifting its eighth cup.
Kenya Prisons, the other Kenyan representative are scheduled to take on Ahly on Friday evening. Prisons are searching a sixth title and first since 2012.
-By Elvince Joshua-