The Men’s volleyball team had to dig deep after the teams were level to clinch the win in the fifth set decider
The Wits Titans recovered well after losing the first set of their match against Centurion’s Green Mambas on Wednesday, March 20, to win three sets to two.
Captain of the Titans, Comfort Munya, formed part of the starting line-up for the team’s second match of the season, but was substituted early on in the first set after coach Qinisa Guyana decided a change in strategy was needed to put the boys back in the driver’s seat at the Old Mutual Sports Hall at Wits.
The Titans started the second set strong and sailed to a 24-18 lead. The Green Mambas rallied to close that gap quickly but after an almost prophetic chant of “ONE POINT!” by the Titan’s captain, the team finished the set with 25 points to the Mambas’ 20.
The third set saw Munya’s re-entry into the game, this time as a receiver and attacker. Explaining this decison, Guyana said, “We shifted positions, taking Comfort out of the setter position and making him a receiver. After that he had good blocks and good attacks. The change really opened up play for him.”
Speaking to the Wits Vuvuzela after the match, Munya said, “I’m sort of the morale booster of the team and moving me from setter to attacker meant I could push the team from behind.”
Munya’s efforts at boosting his team’s morale did not immediately become effective though, with the Witsies losing the set 15-25.
A fast-paced fourth set marked by a marvelous set piece by the Titans was abruptly halted when the lights suddenly went out as the scoreboard sat at 5-5. The Old Mutual Sports Hall was immediately plunged into darkness. Amidst shouts of disappointment from the home crowd, Munya consulted with the referee and after a few minutes while the referee cracked a few jokes with a spectator, the lights came back on and play resumed.
Easily the most exciting set, the Titans earned their 13th point after the Mambas spiked the ball so far out of bounds, it landed in the spectators’ balcony.
The Titans seemed to be dominating the entire set, but the Mambas soon caught up, putting the score at a potentially game-ending tie of 21-21.
Visibly frustrated with his team, Guyana could be seen shouting commands from the sidelines but could do little more than to watch on as the Mambas gained point after point, putting them at 24-22.
Spectators cheering for Wits grew desperate as the Mambas served for the match but a miracle block of a shot by the Titans saw them saving the point and earning three more, to win the set 27-25. That meant the teams were square at two sets all.
The nail-biting fifth and final set was a quick but contentious one with the Titans coming up from behind to win four points in a row, and finally to claim the set 15-13, and the match with three sets to two.
After the match, Guyana said that although he was happy with the final result, the team could have played much better. “We collapse under pressure and fail to rise again so we need to work on that.”
He only had praises for attacker Jayden Magwada though, saying, “He was almost at 100% in his attack!”
Magwada said, “It looks like it is going to be a great season but the team needs to work as a team.”
Munya echoed Magwada’s sentiments, saying: “This win is good for us. The season looks promising. We are heading for the championship and gunning for the gold!”
The final score was 14-25, 25-20, 15-25, 27-25, and 15-13 to the Wits Titans.
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FEATURED IMAGE: The Wits Titans made it two wins out of two for the season on Wednesday night in a match against the Green Mambas.