KAMPALA- UCU Doves paid the price of inexperience with every little penny left in their reserves as they succumbed to a 2-1 series defeat against Nemostars in the Aziz Damani National Volleyball League semifinal playoffs.
Nemostars grit their teeth for a 3-2 win the decisive Game Three at Nsambya on Saturday after clawing back from a 1-0 series deficit to earn the right to play rampaging Sport-S, who blew away KAVC 2-0, in the grand finale that tips off on November 30 at Lugogo.
The 2015 champions started the rain delayed game like a house on fire enroute to storming to a 2-0 lead in the best-of-five sets match up, But their 25-19 and 25-18 wins were countered by the university side, who bagged the third and fourth set 27-25 and 25-19 respectively to set up the decisive set.
And with the agitated crowd on its feet, UCU fluffed three leads to grant their rivals the game and forthwith the series. Coach Nason Bwesigye’s campusers led 6-3 but Nemo rallied to level at 6-6. Then at 10-8, the Doves were in the lead again but Nemo stayed in their faces with another leveller. It was the same story at 12-11 but UCU served out and their power attacker spiked one in the net as Nemo enjoyed the lead for the first time. At 14-14, an ‘unfortunate’ call from the one of the referees was the last nail in their coffin as Nemostars buried the match 16-14.
Odds against UCU
“Many odds were against us,” coach Bwesigye told Daily Monitor about the playoff first timers’ woes on the day. “Inexperience was one of them. When our setter was in position four, we lost many points again. But that referee’s call ended my players’ fight. It was a crucial time in the game. But we are a young side and we shall concentrate on the third place playoff and upcoming university games. Overall we have had a good season.”
For Andrew Okapis, the Nemostars coach, he couldn’t stop praising the character of his men. “Our experience and character came to the fore,” said Okapis.
“We had a moment of complacency when we led 2-0 but we never panicked. We knew the game would be won at the final whistle. The series went down to the wire because UCU is a good young side that will be a major force to reckon with next season.”
AZIZ DAMANI N.V PLAYOFFS
WEEKEND RESULTS -
Serie A – Men
Nemo 3-2 UCU (25-19, 25-18, 25-27, 19-25, 16-14)
*Nemostars win Game 3 to meet Sport-S in final
Serie A – Women
Sport-S 2-3 Nkumba (19-25, 25-16, 13-25, 25-23, 7-15)
*Nkumba win Game 3 to meet VVC in final
Serie B – Men
JVC 1-3 MUST (25-21, 20-25, 17-25, 31-33)
*MUST win Game 3 to meet Police in final
Serie C – Men
St Mark 2-3 KU (25-22, 23-25, 14-25, 25-23, 12-15)
*KU win Game 3 to meet Mulago in final
Nov 24: Third place playoffs