Uganda Volleyball Federations Playoffs
Nemostars 3-2 Sport-S (23-25, 22-25, 25-16, 25-22, 15-12)
The opening clash of the 2018 Volleyball Playoffs lived up to the billing with Nemostars and Sport-S only separated after the decisive set.
Having lost the two regular season encounters, Sport-S looked like they had finally gotten Nemostars’ number.
They got out of the blocks blazing and took an early 12-7 lead to force their opponents into a timeout.
Sport-S were fully in control with Emmanuel Mululi hitting from outside while Dickens Otim tore through the middle.
Nemostars head coach Andrew Okapis needed to act and he took off Fahad Zungu, who started as power attacker, and brought Walter Aloka.
John Opolot was replaced by the experienced Tom Amou.
Nemostars started scoring and forced Sport-S into a timeout at 16-14 as they closed in.
The set would later get tied at 18 but Sport-S had enough to get over the line and take it 25-23.
Sport-S started the second set with the same momentum from the first and rushed into a 3-0 lead that later turned into 6-1.
George Aporu started scoring and Amou ensured the reception issues were sorted for Nemostars.
Sport-S still had the upper hand with Emma Kato and Otim penetrating the Nemostars block.
25-22 Sport-S took the second set and needed just one of the remaining 3 sets to take game one of the semifinal series.
Enter Tom Amou. Having been unavailable for most of the regular season due to work commitments, Amou came to the party at the right time.
His reception, cover defence and ability to score from anywhere on the floor made the difference for the defending champions.
The Kololo outfit had to win the third set and they did it in style with youngster Gideon Angiro taking the pressure off Aporu with his powerful offence.
Nemo’s offence became sharper with Zungu and Wilfred Masaba tearing through the middle while Amou, Angiro and Aporu escaped from the outside.
Sport-S were struggling and coach Warren Muhangi replaced Julius Kananura to steady the ship but all in vain.
25-16 and Nemostars were back in business.
Sport-S needed to kill the game but Nemostars wouldn’t let that happen even after trailing 4-1 early in the fourth set.
They recovered to lead 8-6 and send Sport-S into a timeout. From the timeout Nemo made three unanswered points and were running away with the set.
Sport-S block started functioning and George Aporu was black on three occasions for Sport-S to close in (18-17).
The set was tied at 20-all before Amou and Angiro stepped up to help their side to a 25-22 triumph to force a decisive set.
For the first time in the game, Nemostars started with a 3-0 lead early in the race to 15.
They then lead 6-2 before Sport-S called a timeout from which they returned to leveled matters at 7-all.
Nemostars got the advantage at the switch of sides and went on to lead 12-9.
Sport-S closed in at 13-12 but Nemostars held on to take the set 15-12 and win the first game of the series.
The two sides meet again in game two set for Saturday at Lugogo.
Ndejje Elites defeated Sport-S Ladies 3-1 in the ladies’ category.