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GSU clobber Prisons to lift the 2018 KVF men's title

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By SAMUEL GACHARIRA
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General Service Unit marched on to an unprecedented 13th Kenya Volleyball Federation National League title after thrashing nemesis Kenya Prisons 3-0 (25-19, 25-22, 25-20) in their last match at the Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani on Monday.

The paramilitary side needed a point to defend their title having picked maximum points in their first two matches against Kenya Defence Forces and Kenya Ports Authority. But the men in red berets were at their brilliant best blanking the warders in straight sets.

Abiud Chirchir was a constant menace on the right with his back-row attacks, with Cornelius Kiplagat terrorising the warders on the left. The result will certainly go down as one of the greatest in the history of GSU since they dropped a set against KPA and KDF but there was no relenting once first referee Lucy Chege blew the first whistle.

A Kenya Prisons player spikes the ball as General Service Unit (GSU) player attempts to block during their 2018 Kenya Volleyball Federation national league play offs played at Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani on December 3, 2018. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

GSU finished the play offs with nine points five ahead of second placed Prisons. KPA finished bottom of the pile with two points, one less than third placed KDF. KPA beat KDF 3-2 (25-17, 25-23, 19-25, 25-14, 15-12) earlier at the same venue.

Victorious GSU coach Gideon Tarus said that he knew what to expect against Prisons and he prepared well for it. “We couldn’t afford to lose the first two sets. Prisons is a team that we have played many times so we knew very well what to expect. Our game plan worked perfectly by launching our offense through the middle,” he said.

Poor game management and faulty blocks are the reasons Prisons couldn’t withstand a sustained GSU onslaught, their coach Paul Muthinja said. “We gave them too much room for attacks and this made it difficult to organize our floor defence. We also gave away our lead easily and this is a big concern. Volleyball is a game of mistakes and we committed way too many,” he said.

In the first set, GSU recovered from a slow start that saw them trail 6-10 before taking a one-point lead at the second technical time out. Scoring machine Chirchir then turned on the gears with his trademark back-row attacks as they won 25-19 for a 1-0 set score.

General Service Unit (GSU) players celebrate a point during their 2018 Kenya Volleyball Federation national league play offs match against Kenya Prisons played at Moi International Sports Centre, Kasarani on December 3, 2018. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Well aware that they only needed a set to win the title, they began strongly with an 8-3 lead at the first buzzer before extending their lead by a point to 16-10 at the second time out. Ibrahim Oduor led a resurgent Prisons to reduce GSU’s lead to only two points at 18-16 but then Kiplagat was unstoppable in attack to claim the set point with Prison at 21.

His namesake Cornelius Lagat secured the set with a killer block for a 25-22 final tally.

GSU went all out in the third set despite being assured of the title leading 8-6 and 16-11 in the first and second technical time outs. Simon Kipkorir then claimed the set point with a quick spike through the middle before Michael Chemos missed his service to hand GSU a comfortable 25-20 win.

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