Axed Maiyo stars as Prisons dethrone Pipeline

Lydia Maiyo receives medical attention during the warm-up for last year's FIVB World Grand Prix ...
Lydia Maiyo receives medical attention during the warm-up for last year's FIVB World Grand Prix Group 3 final against Peru. She starred for her Kenya Prisons team that won the 10th AMACO Invitational in Eldoret. PHOTO/FIVB

Lydia Maiyo immense contribution helped Kenya Prisons dethrone Kenya Pipeline as the AMACO International Volleyball tournament women’s champions as the 10th edition of the invitational event wrapped on Sunday at Eldoret Polytechnic Grounds.

Prisons took the honours 3-1 (18-25, 28-26,25-18,25-23) in the closely contested decider to erase some of the disappointment of crashing out of the Africa Women’s Volleyball Championships at the quarterfinal stage in Tunisia.

Celebrations in the Prisons camp only lasted about 20 minutes after General Service Unit (GSU) ended the reign of their male counterparts in the corresponding final in another hard-fought 3-1 (25-27,28-26, 25-22, 25-21) victory over the national champions.

Maiyo was voted the tournament’s Most Valuable Player after the veteran – who was dropped from the national team that is preparing to leave for the World Olympics Qualifiers and the FIVB Grand Prix- aided her side to recover from a set down to take the next three for victory.

Having used their own cash to travel to Eldoret, the wardresses were rewarded by sharing out the Ksh100,000 prize money after trumping their arch-rivals who finished third in the continental club championships.

Pipeline the reigning national champions started  strongly when they took the opening set 25-18 thanks to some excellent reception and execution from the evergreen Mildred Odwako and Leonidas Kasaya.

But Prisons regrouped to grab the subsequent three sets to the dismay of head coach; Japheth Munala who shelved national team duties where he serves as an assistant to David Lung’aho to be with his players.

While the ladies were on song, their male colleagues lost concentration at the crucial time when they lost the lead and succumbed to a determined GSU side who staged a thrilling comeback.

GSU and Prisons exchanged leads after the two sides tied 7-7 in the opening exchanges but Prisons took control of the opening stanza and raced to set-point at 24-21.

Signs of their impending collapse were evident when they let the paramilitary side tie at 24-24 before taking it 27-25 on tie-break.

The second set saw both side trade scores ( 3-3, 5-5 and 9-9) before the national champions established a three-point cushion at 13-9 but again, GSU struck back as another tie-breaker was required to level the match at 26-28 to the latter.

Backed by a passionate crowd, GSU returned rejuvenated and easily won the third and fourth sets 25-22 and 25-21 to go home with the Ksh100,000 prize money.

Nairobi Water and Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) finished third in the men and women competitions.

Water completed the double over Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) whom they had beaten in the group stages on Friday when they came from behind after a marathon first set to beat the dockers 3-1 (29-31, 25-22,25-17,25122) and go home with the third place play-off award.

In the semis; Prisons had nicked Nairobi in a  3-2 (15-25,25-21,15-25,25-22,215-12) cliff-hanger while Pipeline bet KCB by straight sets (25-15,25-21,25-18).

In the men’s last-four; Prisons also knocked out Water 3-1 (25-21,25-22,16-25,25-22) as GSU once again fought from a set down to overpower KPA  3-1 (23-25,25-18,25-20,25-14).

Losing finalists took home Ksh75,000 while bronze winners went home with Ksh50,000 and trophies.

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