By sportsnewsarena correspondent
Jul 16, 2016
Soweto Academy pulled off a stunning comeback to shock Kwanthanze High School 3-2 and qualify for the national games in the Metropolitan Region girls' volleyball final played at Nyayo Stadium on Saturday.
Kwanthanze started the match on a promising note using their superior height advantage to dominate. They appeared overconfident and paid the price after as a mix up between their players enabled Soweto to lead 12-10 lead.
Kwanthanze setter Pamela Masaisai hit two successive spikes to revive her team's spirit as they lead changed hands 19-18. The outgoing champions then led 23-21 after unforced errors from their opponents and were poised to take the set.
However, Soweto led by Sharon Jeptichtich restored parity through a clever knockdown to level 24-24 and to set up a tense finish. Soweto led 26-25 before Jeptichtich's power spike gave her team a 27-25 set win.
Kwanthanze came into the second set rejuvenated and led 15-13. They capitalised on the lengthy frames of Teresa Ewet and Sarah Chepchumba to block shots affectively and extend their lead to 23-16. The team closed out the set 25-17 to tie the match at 1-1.
The teams were evenly matched in the third set. They tied 6-6 before Kwanthanze scored eight unanswered points. But, Soweto narrowed the gap 16-11, 21-18 and 23-21 respectively.
However, they lost the momentum as Kwanthanze took the set 25-21 for a 2-1 sets lead.
On the brink of elimination in the fourth set, Soweto with the help of 200 cheering supporters clawed back to take the set 25-22 and tie the game 2-2. This was after an impressive 10-3, 17-10 and 20-12 lead during the set.
The deciding fifth set was a closely fought with the teams locked in at 10-10 in the early stages. Soweto made tactical changes to lead 14-12 before the game was momentarily stopped as members from the Kwanthanze camp angrily protested the referee's decision to award Soweto a point.
Soweto held on for a 15-13 set win and 3-2 in the match. This avenged the loss they suffered in last year's final.
An angry Kwanthanze coach Justin Kigwari contested the decision and criticised the officiating. "It was a terrible match for us.I question the officiating today and I will definately appeal the result of this game."
Soweto Principal and coach Johstone Makabwa was jubilant. " We are happy with the win. We played our hearts out and the win is a result of hard work and determination. We are looking forward to the next chapter."
In the boys final, Hospital Hill qualified for the national championships after retaining their title courtesy of a 3-0 (25-18, 25-14, 25-13) straight sets victory over Utithi High School.
This was a repeat of last year's final. Coach Francis Mwangi said: "I am happy with the result.We have achieved what we set for ourselves and we are hoping will maintain our focus."
By Ronnie Evans