Prisons Kenya ended their four year wait for the Kenya Volleyball Federation National League title with a 3-1 (25-19, 25-22, 22-25, 25-21 ) over rivals Kenya Pipeline in a thrilling match played at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani on Monday.
The Warders came into this match needing only a point to reclaim the title they last won in 2013 but they did more than was required, bagging maximum points to take their tally to nine points – four ahead of Kenya Commercial Bank who blanked Bungoma County 3-0 (25-18, 25-13, 25-7) earlier at the same venue to settle for second place.
Pipeline finished third with four points while Bungoma County remained bottom without a point and a set in this competition.
A jubilant Prisons coach Josp Barasa said that his faith in grooming young talent has finally paid off. “It’s been long, we have worked hard to groom young talent for four years and they have finally come of age. I also want to thank the management team for ensuring this team stayed in camp for one month, we had ample time to prepare and we can now see the fruits,” he told Nation Sport.
In the opposite corner, a dejected Japheth Munala said that his charges were not motivated and were no match for the well-drilled Prisons team. “They opened huge gaps and we struggled to keep up with them. You can’t win with a group of players that are visibly demotivated,” he moaned.
Munala revealed that his troops might have been affected by the lack of allowances from the team’s management. “It is the company’s policy that no allowance is paid for matches within Nairobi, but this is different. You need players well motivated and well prepared for such matches. We hope this will be addressed by those in charge,” he said.
Prisons tactician Barasa kept faith in Joy Lusenaka ahead of the experienced Jane Wacu for setting duties. Emmaculate Chemtai played opposite while Mercy Moim and the returning Sharon Chepchumba were the outside hitters. Middle blockers Edith Wisa and Lorine Chebet completed the first six.
As they had done in their previous matches, Prisons started strongly leading 8-6 in the first technical time out and maintaining the two-point lead in the second. Skipper Moim couldn’t just stop scoring as she led the warders to a 25-19 win in the first set.
The introduction of Wacu and Yvonne Wavinya slowed down Prisons with Pipeline almost grabbing the second set. The set was at one point tied 21-21 before Lusenaka came back on the court to guide the Warders to a 25-22 set victory.
Sensing defeat, Munala pulled out Agrippina Kundu, Janet Wanja and Christine Siwa and gave Rose Magoi, Esther Wangechi and Emily Khisa a chance to salvage a set for Pipeline. The changes worked as Prisons lost the third set 25-22 forcing the match into the fourth set.
A cautious Prisons was on the back foot in the crucial set as they trailed Pipeline for large swathes of the match.With scores tied at 19-19, Barasa withdrew Chepchumba for Pamela Masaisai who ultimately gave the victors the much needed confidence and points that they needed to win the set 25-21.