Nemostars secure top spot ahead of playoffs

Satisfied. Nemostars players celebrate by displaying the scoreboard after demolishing KAVC in straight sets.  PHOTO/EMANZI NDYAMUHAKI  

What you need to know:

The six-time champions will head into the playoffs as the top seed following their 3-0 win over KAVC in Nsambya.

After missing out on the National Volleyball League Playoffs party last season, Nemostars are back. 

The six-time champions will head into the playoffs as the top seed following their 3-0 win over KAVC in Nsambya Sunday evening.

Having gone into the game as second seed following Sport-S’ early morning 3-0 win over Elyon, Nemostars had to collect maximum points to return to the top of the log.

And the start was far from perfect. KAVC paused tough questions in the early stages of the first set, leading 14-10 at some point before fading later on to let it slip and hand Nemostars the advantage.

Esau Ecil, who replaced Steven Wandera, twice blocked Geoffrey Onapa to close the set 25-22 as Nemostars put their noses in front.

Memory Dube’s charges were competitive until midway through the second set but ran out of steam as Nemostars’ net defence intensified, with Ecil and middle blocker Bernard Malinga leading the charge.

Too easy

The third set was barely a contest as Nemostars went through the porous KAVC blocks with relative ease to take the frame 25-15 and finish the regular season in style.

Setter Smith Okumu’s high ball allowed Ecil to go above the block all the time and score to keep Nemostars in cruise control. 

Dube’s introduction of veteran Mathew Mwenyi and Ishaq Mugabi for Joel Endra and Innocent Ayo did little to stop the bleeding. 

The victory was Nemostars’ 15th in the league, having only lost a single game, to defending champions Sport-S in the first round.

With their 15-1 record, Nemostars amassed 43 points and beat Sport-S to the top spot due to a better set ratio.

Sport-S, meanwhile, concluded their regular season business with a 14-2 record. 

UCU Doves and KAVC occupy the third and fourth positions on the log to qualify for the playoffs.

Nemostars will now face KAVC in the semifinals while Sport-S will clash with UCU in a repeat of last year’s final.