Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Mixed fortunes for Kutlwano teams in Volleyball finals

Mafolofolo ladies Volleyball team produced an inspired performance to win the Capital BMW Volleyball Championship and bring to an end Kutlwano’s reign at the top.

As their name, Mafolofolo, implies, the team played with zest and energy to clinch the championship in a very captivating women’s final.

Kutlwano started the brighter of the two, winning the first set but their lead was cancelled in the second set which Mafolofolo won to level scores. The comeback by Thabo Ntshinogang’s side marked the beginning of an end as soon thereafter, the ‘Big House’ of Kutlwano started crumbling under the pressure of the determined Mafolofolo.

With the score level after the first two sets, the game came to life in the third set as both team gave all they had but it was not to be for Kutlwano as they lost the set 25 ÔÇô 23 to give Mafolofolo a 2 ÔÇô 1 lead.

The set which was fiercely contested could have gone either way but it was Mafolofolo’s determined spirit that gave the team the edge over their most experienced foes. It was perhaps this fierce determination by Mafolofolo that made Kutlwano’s supporters call for divine intervention by singing gospel songs but their prayers were not answered as their team lost the set.

If the supporters were hoping for a comeback similar to the one their team produced in the semi-finals against Kalavango in the previous week, their hopes were almost all ended in the fourth set as Mafolofolo ensured the game will not go into the deciding set with a 25 ÔÇô 22 win.

Mafolofolo, led by the ever present Lizzy Gasekgonwe, showed their intent from the start as they pulled to a two point lead which they maintained until mid way through the game when they increased it to a four to lead 19 ÔÇô 15.

The surge caused Kutlwano’s coach Isaac Samuel, who perhaps sensing that his ‘Big House’ was falling, to call for a time out to try and rally his troops. Whatever the coach had said during the time out did not bear fruit as indecisive blocking, which had plagued Kutlwano throughout the game came to the fore again as Mafolofolo raced to a 21 ÔÇô 15 lead.

Not ones to go down without a fight, Kutlwano rallied back and reduced the lead to a three pointer but it was too little too late as Mafolofolo held on to clinch the set and dethrone Kutlwano with a 3 ÔÇô 1 defeat.

It was, however, a different ball game in the men’s final as Kutlwano men swept aside Diphatsa volleyball club to ensure that Kutlwano did not come back empty handed from the finals.

Kutlwano had a nervy start to the final as they lost the opening set but their experience carried them through as they rallied back to inflict a 3 ÔÇô 1 defeat on Diphatsa.

Unlike the women’s final, the men’s final was all about power volleyball of which Kutlwano emerged masters. After a bright start that saw them convincingly win the first set, Diphatsa seemed to lose their way in the following sets as Kutlwano, who have the talents of the likes of Peaceful Seleka, Thabo Seitshiro and Shadrack Kapeko, among others, shredded them to parts.

Seitshiro in particular was outstanding and gave the Diphatsa blockers nightmares with his powerful spikes which were not easily defended. Diphatsa were all but finished by the third set as they found it hard to contain the duo of Seleka and Seitshiro despite the spirited rallying of the team by its outstanding all rounder Odirile Driller Sibanda.

Driller, as Sibanda is affectionately called, tried to help his team but Kutlwano prevailed, leaving Diphatsa dejected after losing two consecutive finals after losing to BDF IV in last year’s finals.


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