The indoor volleyball season continued with some sizzling action in the semifinals of the playoffs on Tuesday night.
The first game at the First Baptist Church gym saw second seed Chemistry face the third seed FBC Saints.
In the first set, Chemistry got off to a fiery start behind big kills by Keeble Knight at power and Jesper Barrozo running as the middle hitter.
The FBC Saints turned to Genesis Manoy and Heron Espinosa to respond but they were clearly no match in the first set, with the score ending 25-15 for Chemistry.
In the second set, the Saints showed resilience and fought for every point, and as a team they had 10 digs and six blocks in an effort to remain competitive.
Genesis and Heron lead the team with four kills each and setter Mark Ray spread the ball around to his teammates with seven players registering at least one kill.
Chemistry setter Davison Ruwende helped launch a sustained attack led by Knight with 12 kills, followed by Barrozo with seven kills and John McLean with five kills. David Wood also had a spectacular game for Chemistry with three service aces, three kills and four big digs.
Despite their gritty performance, the Saints lost 25-21 in the second set.
In the second match of the evening, top seed Androgroup Jeriatrics played fourth seed A.L. Thompson-sponsored Grills in a fire cracker.
The Jeriatrics jumped out to an early lead led by Allen Grunert and Richard Campbell, who each had six kills in the first set alone, and Martin “Anthony” Bodden, who had five kills in this first set. However, set 1 was ultimately dominated by the defense of Joebert Macasling and Mihajlo Stracenski who each had four blocks for points in the first set, stifling the Jeriatrics’ attack to help propel the ALT Grills past the Jeriatrics 26-24.
This was a wake-up call for the Jeriatrics and they were quick to respond, jumping out to a 10 point lead in the second set and then applying constant pressure to increase that lead. Setter Daniel Pattico strategically put the top three hitters, Grunert, Bodden and Campbell in positions for kills as they combined for another 13 kills in set 2.
The Grills had no response for the aerial attack this time and saw the Jeriatrics easily win the second set 25-12.
With the match tied one set each, a third and decisive set was played to 15 points. Tough serving by Bodden, who had five service aces for the game, helped get the Jeriatrics going in the third set as they jumped out to an 8-1 lead.
Free balls from the Grills were quickly gobbled up by the Jeriatrics backcourt and sent back as fire balls by Grunert, who had 14 kills for the game, and Campbell, who had 12 kills for the game. Jeriatrics made quick work of the Grills in the third set winning 15-8 and now move on to play Chemistry in the final.
The ALT Grills clashed with the FBC Saints in the third place match on Wednesday night at the FBC gym.
The finals are set to be an exciting night of volleyball with the Survivors looking to outwit, outlast and outplay the Ladybugs in the women’s game.
The Ladybugs are flying high following their upset win earlier in the week. Players to watch for the Survivors are Carmen “Brad” Picate, the inspirational leader who can mount an attack from all positions on the court and Stacy-Ann Kelly who gives this team an edge in attacking and blocking with her tall frame.
For the Ladybugs, it will be Karlie Cross, an offensive powerhouse who has helped keep them in it week after week and beach star Jessica Wolfenden, who brings her quickness on defense and attacking prowess to the indoor game.
The wild cards will be youngsters Chlouie Gaetos and Krista Ebanks who have played significant minutes in games this season and continue to improve each week. This one is too close to call but will certainly provide the early fireworks for the evening.
In the men’s final, the Jeriatrics are anxious to show Chemistry that they are not yet over the hill and have some good moves left.
These teams faced off earlier in the season with the Jeriatrics prevailing, but it was just the regular season.
For the Jeriatrics, they will rely on the three-pronged attack from Grunert, Campbell and Bodden, as all three have shown high flying ability, but will need to keep the balls on the court and ready the blocks for the Chemistry attack which can come from front and back court.
The Chemistry attack is sure to run through Knight as outside hitter and with quick attacks up the middle by Barozzo. The passing will be critical as both teams employ the full arsenal of jump serves, float serves and short serves to confuse passers to stave off a meaningful attack. The wild cards are Ruwende for Chemistry, as he will control the attack for Chemistry and will probe for areas of weakness to exploit, and Pattico for the Jeriatrics should he decide to get into the attack, as he can also be a prolific scorer.
The finals begin at the Arts and Recreation Centre at Camana Bay on Saturday, Dec. 5, starting with the Women’s Final at 7:30 p.m., followed by the Men’s Final. For more information, visit www.civf.ky.