Mascom Volleyball league log leaders Police VI (men’s team) maintained their good start to the league, collecting yet another win at the expense of an ‘upbeat’ Spiking Stars in Lobatse this past weekend. What started off as a seemly routine march to victory for Police VI saw a resilient Spiking Stars craft one the best performances to set up a match that will be etched in the memory of many for a long time. Police started the 1st set in typical fashion with powerful serves which Spiking Stars players failed to deal with; it took 19 minutes for the Cops to get the set 25-18.
A change in lineup which saw Phemelo Lekoko of Spiking Starts move back to his normal attacking position sent early warning signs to “Ditau di buletswe” as Police VI is known to their legion of fans, despite eventually losing the set 25-21, they (Spiking Stars) led the set in the opening moments and at one point had a 5 balls gap. With a 2-0 lead, Police were strolling to a comfortable win. However, Kealeboga Mmekwane’s boys put in a 22 minutes sterling performance to thwart every effort from Police to end the game, their hard work was a 25-19 reward to take the game to 2-1 score line.
The fourth set saw an even more spirited Spiking Stars, a dark horse of Botswana volleyball, shift gears as they tore into Police’s defense. It was a mighty set for Motsumi, Lekoko, Bampoloki and Lebakeng who scored crucial points for Stars to take the set 25-16 and level the score at 2-2. The 5th and deciding set started much like the 4th one, it was Spiking Stars smelling blood and going for the jugular, they led the set 8-5 and eventually extended the lead to 12-7 needing just 3 balls to end the game. Police tried to put on a fight knowing losing the game would give advantage to Kutlwano and BDF VI who were scheduled to play late in the afternoon.
Their (Police) efforts saw them close the gap to 12-10, with the help of Happy Riddin, Alec Angleton and Maatla Mogapi leading the attack. A 5 balls lead by Spiking Stars eventually evaporated into a 13-12 gap, with both teams feeling victory was within reach, cautious serving was a play and a case of the setters, Phenyo (Spiking Stars) and his opposite, Tjiyapo Madeluka of Police, making an informed decision of who will they trust with the ball to deliver the goods.
13-12 soon turned to 14 all, then 15 all, it was Police VI who eventually emerged the winners taking the set 17-15 and with an overall score line of 3-2. A visibly disappointed Thebeng, Spiking Stars captain, blamed the loss on too much excitement by his boys as he felt the game was theirs for the taking, having led the deciding set for so long but failing to put Police to the sword.
It was not all gloom for him and the team though, as he felt there were positives to take from the game going forward. For his part, coach Mmekwane reiterated his captain’s words that even though the boys played well and should have won the game, they got carried away with too much excitement and that gave a more experience Police side a chance to snatch the game away from them.
Ribbin, Police VI captain, said this was a hard fought win and did not want to blame the struggle on injuries they are currently having, which meant two of their regular players Ephraim and Iketeng were out and forced the team to make changes in their lineup, but he was hopeful that all will be well and be able to play their normal game in week 7 fixtures. Police coach, Shimaka Ngwanaotsile was in a jovial mood having seen his troops come back from a near derailment to be back on course to win the game.
“Our intention is to win all our first round games and take it from there, of course sets against is a drawback but the win is important,” he lamented the passing in today’s game which let them down and meant a change in the system they wanted to play.
“We did not start the last set well as we trailed by 9 balls at one point but I told my players, if they (Spiking Stars) can score, whats preventing us from doing the same. Its over only when the final whistle goes, lucky they listened and that’s why we managed to come back,” coach Shimaka said in conclusion.
Police vs Spiking Stars (25-18, 25-21, 19-25, 16-25, 17-15)
Volleyball League Round Up
Lobatse: (Men) BDF VI 3-0 Desert Kings, Kutlwano 3-0 Prisons, Police VI 3-2 Spiking Stars, Kutlwano 3-2 BDF VI,
Serowe: (Ladies) Kalavango 3-0 Selibe Phikwe, Mag Stimela 0-3 Dynamites, Mag Stimela 0-3 Kalavango, Selibe Phikwe 0-3 Dynamites,
(Men’s games), Diphatsa 2-3 kalavango, Mag Stimela 2-3 Kalavango, Mag Stimela 0-3 Diphatsa