Volleyball: Newbies TrailBlazers defy odds to seal play-offs slot

Linus Rotich of Nairobi Prisons spikes as TrailBlazers Jean Claude and Emanuel Melly block

Linus Rotich of Nairobi Prisons (left) spikes as Trailblazers Jean Claude and Emanuel Melly block during their Kenya Volleyball Federation National League match at Nyayo National stadium in Nairobi on July 2, 2022.

Photo credit: Sila Kiplagat | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • TrailBlazers, who made their maiden appearance in the league this season, have 33 points from 14 matches and will complete the regular season on Sunday with a match against Rift Valley Prisons
  • Blazers join Kenya Ports Authority (KPA), defending champions General Service Unit (GSU) and 2016 champions Kenya Prisons who had already sealed their play-offs slots


TrailBlazers Saturday defeated Nairobi Prisons 3-1(21-25,25-20,25-20,25-20) during Kenya Volleyball Federation National League final leg at Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi to qualify for end of season play-offs.

TrailBlazers, who made their maiden appearance in the league this season, have 33 points from 14 matches and will complete the regular season on Sunday with a match against Rift Valley Prisons.

Blazers join Kenya Ports Authority (KPA), defending champions General Service Unit (GSU) and 2016 champions Kenya Prisons who had already sealed their play-offs slots.

KPA,GSU and Kenya Prisons all have 37 points from 14 matches and the final rankings will be known on Sunday after their last matches.

KPA will tackle Central Prisons, while GSU who had beaten Kenya Forest Service (KFS) 3-0 (25-22,25-22,25-15) in an earlier match played at the same venue will lock horns with their local nemesis Kenya Prisons.

Kenya Defence Forces are fifth with 33 points from 15 matches but they have inferior set ratio.

Ahead of Kenya Prisons match, GSU coach Gideon Tarus said he is not under pressure to perform.

“The consolation is that we have already qualified for the play-offs. Battle for supremacy will be at play but they are worthy opponents who we have played before and we know what to do," said Tarus who doubles up as the national men’s coach.

Kenya Prisons assistant coach Ibrahim Odour said they want to complete the regular season on high.

“We were shaky at the start of the season but we have managed to steady the ship. It will be a tricky match but we have our work cut out,” said Odour, a Kenya beach volleyball player.

In the first set against KFS, GSU led 8-5 and 14-10.

Cornelius Kiplagat, Brian Melly and Nicholas Matui extended GSU's lead 19-15 before poor communication in the paramilitary camp allowed KFS to close gap 21-23 but GSU held onto the lead to bag the set 25-22.

In the second set, KFS squeezed a 7-6 lead as Michael Wanyoike, Calistus Mwili and Julius Mwai combined well upfront.

GSU overtook their opponents to lead 18-15 and 20-17 but once again allowed KFS back in the game with a narrow lead 22-20. They later regrouped to to take the set 25-22.

In the third set, GSU took an early lead 9-7 as Shadrack Misiko and Melly mounted watertight blocks.

GSU then extended the lead 10-18 as KFS crumbled to trail 12-23 before they lost the set 25-15.

Sunday fixtures

TrailBlazers v Rift Valley Prisons 9am

Vihiga County v Mombasa Prisons 11am

Kenya Prisons v GSU 1pm

Central Prisons v Kenya Ports Authority 3pm

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