Experience saves Nemostars, Block Bursters down, not out

Unstoppable. VVC’s Catherine Ainembabazi (right) powers her spike through Ndejje’s defence. PHOTO/ISMAIL KEZAALA

What you need to know:

  • On a day OBB played arguably their best game of the season, they still fell short of taking game one and must now bounce back against Nemostars.

Experience is the toughest opponent to go up against in the postseason. Nemostars has plenty of that in the ongoing National Volleyball League finals and relied on it to defeat OBB in game one of the final series on Saturday at the Old Kampala Arena.

On a day OBB played arguably their best game of the season, they still fell short of taking game one and must now bounce back and win two in a row to win the championship.

“Just come back and watch the next two games,” OBB head coach Lawrence Yakan assured Daily Monitor after his side’s 3-2 defeat.

The Iganga-based outfit will have to maintain the kind of performance they put up in the first four sets but also manage their nerves in pressure moments down the stretch.

Salva Marial and Ivan Ongom gave OBB offence to start the game but it was Cosmas Elijah Apunyo, who eventually took over and gave Nemostars lots of work to do. His serves were hard to deal with and when he attacked, he scored and kept OBB on course until he went cold late in the game.

‘We’ve experience’
Yakan is adamant OBB have the experience to match Nemostars but when the stakes were high on Saturday, only one team stood to be counted and it wasn’t OBB.

“Experience is there at the end of the day but my team also has players who are experienced so I wouldn’t say it is an advantage for Nemostars,” he insisted.
“At some point our service just became weak and was easy for them.”

It was a game in which Nemostars struggled on several fronts but still managed to get the win. George Aporu didn’t sting like he usually does on offence and made several errors on the night.
Barnabus Tugume had to be taken off after failing to provide a good catch the team needed to allow their offence function.

Middle blocker Bernard Malinga also failed to impose himself on the game as OBB’s block gave Nemostars no chance through the middle.

Andrew Okapis called upon Tom Amou, who stabilised the team’s reception and eventually got going in attack to score big points for the six-time champions in clutch moments.

“Tom came with character and experience. He improved our catch and that stabilised the game for us,” Okapis noted.

Nemostars also struggled from the service box.
When they went for the hard serve, the ball ended up in the net or off court and the simple serve made work easy for the opponent.

“Looking at statistics, we made 20 service errors and that can’t happen to a team supposed to win. That is something we are going to work on,”

OBB had fought back from 16-19 to level at 22-all in the fourth set but Jonathan Tumukunde and Aporu saw Nemostars over the line to force a decisive.

Only one team turned up for the decisive. Fahad Zungu got two big block and celebrated with the haka as Nemostars led 8-4 at the switch of sides.

The lead grew to 10-5 and forced OBB into a time out.
There was just no stopping Nemostars who went on to take the set 15-8, win the game 3-2 and put one hand on the trophy.

Women game. . .VVC a game away

Vision Volleyball Camp defeated Ndejje Elites 3-1 to edge closer to the women’s league title. Hannington Nsubuga’s charges relied on the offensive prowess of Catherine Ainembabazi, Joan Tushemereirwe and Irene Amoding to tear through the Ndejje block.

Ndejje is not new to bouncing back and had to do it the hard way in the semi-final series against KCCA. The same has to be done if the side is to complete their league and club championship double.

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