Volleyball: Blazers breach KDF defence to inch closer to play-offs
What you need to know:
- KDF blew their chances when they lost to newcomers TrailBlazers 3-1(24-26,25-21,25-19,25-22) during the sixth leg of the KVF National League at Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi on Thursday
- A visibly disappointed KDF coach Elisha Aliwa said fate is no longer in their hands
- Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) and reigning champions General Service Unit (GSU), who are both unbeaten, lead the race for play-offs slots with 31 and 26 points respectively
Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) men's team chances of qualifying for Kenya Volleyball Federation (KVF) National League end of season play-offs took a big blow on Thursday when they lost to newcomers TrailBlazers 3-1(24-26,25-21,25-19,25-22) during the sixth leg at Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi.
The top four men’s sides at the completion of the regular season qualify for the play-offs.
A visibly disappointed KDF coach Elisha Aliwa said fate is no longer in their hands.
“On paper we are out of the play-offs and we now leave it to fate. There are tough teams that are still jostling for the play-offs and it’s unfortunate that it’s the end of road for us. We will now depend on other teams results which always doesn't work,” said Aliwa.
Blazers coach Geoffrey Omondi said the win was crucial.
“The win is important to us. We now have one foot in the play-offs and we can only hope we win the remaining matches as that will hasten our chance of qualifying for the last four,” said Omondi, a former national men’s team coach.
Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) and reigning champions General Service Unit (GSU), who are both unbeaten, lead the race for play-offs slots with 31 and 26 points respectively.
KPA beat Kenya Forest Service (KFS) 3-0 (25-23,25-19,25-23) while GSU defeated Administration Police of Kenya (APK) 3-0 (25-17,25-23,25-19) on Thursday.
KPA have played 11 matches while the paramilitary side have played nine matches.
Blazers, Equity Bank, KFS and Kenya Prisons are also in race for play-offs slots.
Blazers and Kenya Prisons are tied third on the standings with 21 points from nine matches, but Prisons have a better set ratio.
The bankers and KFS are joint fifth with 20 points from 10 matches but the latter have inferior set ratio.
In the match against KDF, Blazers led 9-7 in the first set but allowed their opponents to tie 17-17 due to poor services and leaking blocks.
Moses Sialo, Stanley Mutua , Dominic Chelule and Jean Claude then combined well as Blazers opened a 23-20 lead but again allowed KDF to tie 24-24 before they won the set at 26-24.
In the second set, KDF came all guns blazing as middle blocker Nelson Bitok was a joy to watch with his quick and well oiled spikes that put the forces side in a 12-9 lead.
Aggrey Kimeli, Aggrey Kibungei and Benard Wechuli then extended the lead for the soldiers 22-19 before they took the set 25-21.
KDF will blame themselves for leading in the third and fourth sets but surrendered the leads as Blazers worked on their poor reception and mastered their blocks to take the sets 25-19 and 25-22.
In the other results, Vihiga County bagged three points after their opponents Central Prisons were a no show.
2016 champions Kenya Prisons defeated Western Prisons 3-0 (25-11,25-23,25-15).
Fixtures (all matches at Nyayo Stadium)
KPA v GSU (9am)
Vihiga County v TrailBlazers (9am)
KDF v Nairobi Prisons (11am)
Prisons Rift Valley v Central Prisons (11am)
Mombasa Prisons v Nyanza Prisons(1pm)
KFS v Kenya Army (1pm)
Kenya Prisons v AP (3pm)
Equity Bank v Kenya Prisons (3pm)