Kenya Volleyball Federation national league defending champions General Service Unit (GSU) face Kenya Prisons in a repeat of last year's league decider at the Moi, Kasarani today.
The two sides made their last day encounter the decider after winning their first two matches against Forest Rangers and Ulinzi. GSU beat Rangers in straight sets before Prisons struggled to beat Ulinzi 3-2 in a five set thriller in their opening matches.
Yesterday, the champions beat Ulinzi 3-1 (25-22, 25-23, 25-22 and 28-28) in a tense match that saw the paramilitary side stretched to the limit.
GSU led 8-7 at the first set first technical time out but the soldiers still hang on to trail 15-16 at the second. Bernard Musumba, Wesley Rono and captain David Kirwa combined with superb defence and hard spikes to propel the police side.
However, Ulinzi showed they were not in the play offs by default as they produced a breathtaking display in the second set to lead 4-0, 5-1, 6-2, 6-4 and 7-5 and went into the first break 8-5 leaders.
Sensing danger, GSU coach Moses Epoloto brought on Solomon Bitok who enabled his side to close the gap at 12-12 before they went on to lead 16-15 at the second technical timeout.
Ulinzi went out of gas in the third set, trailing 8-6 and 16-13 at the breaks. They, however, tried their best to make it 2-2 in the fourth as they commanded the set which saw them stretch the game to 15-16 at the second break and a give and take encounter at 24-24 before a mistake by youngster Rashid Sila handed the champions the set.
Ulinzi coach Maina Ndirangu blamed poor defence for the loss and vowed to strengthen the team by bringing in some new quality ahead of next season.
His GSU counterpart, Moses Epoloto, was however elated that he is well placed to reclaim his title but observed that he will approach the match as cautiously as it demands.
"We will treat it just like another match," said Epoloto. "I know it will be a tough one especially now that we will be facing Prisons in a repeat of last year's final match."
Prisons coach Gideon Chenje said he will be expecting the best performance from his charges as they seek to stop GSU and reclaim the title they let slip through their fingers last year. "It will be a very tough game," said Chenje. "We will be approaching it carefully and hopefully we will reclaim our title."