Dar Kulaib draw first blood against Al Ahli
TDT | Manama
The Daily Tribune – www.newsofbahrain.com
Dar Kulaib drew first blood last night in their best-of-three semi-final series against Al Ahli in the 2022/2023 Isa bin Rashid Bahrain Volleyball League.
Dar Kulaib swept past their rivals 3-0 (25-22, 25-19, 25-19) in the opening game of their match-up, played at the Isa bin Rashid Arena at the Bahrain Volleyball Association headquarters at Isa Sports City in Riffa.
The victors were in a class of their own and now look to secure their berths in the finals when they return to the playing court on Saturday for game two.
Ahli, on the other hand, will be looking to stay alive and extend their series to a winnertake-all third game, slated for Tuesday next week.
Both contests are scheduled for 9.30pm starts at the same venue.
The winner of this final four match-up will move on to face the waiting Al Najma in the championship round, which will also be held in best-of-three format.
In last night’s win, Dar Kulaib and Ahli matched each other point-for-point in the first set until a 17-all deadlock.
A Mohammed Yaqoob spike then broke the tie and spurred Dar Kulaib to a 21-18 lead.
Ahli fought back and got to within 22-23, but then their opponents were able to close the set out with a Juan Barrera spike and following an Ahli error.
In the second, Dar Kulaib were dominant and turned an 11-5 lead to 18-9. Ahli were able to narrow the gap but Dar Kulaib quickly secured their twoset advantage.
In set three, Ahli appeared determined to keep the match going and went ahead with a slim 15-14 edge, and later 17-15.
But Dar Kulaib would not back down, and they scored the next three points to wrest back the advantage at 18-17.
They rode their momentum all the way until the end and took match point on a powerful Yaqoob serve that could not be received by Ahli.
Also playing key roles for Dar Kulaib were Ali Habib, Mahmoud Abdulwahed, Hassan Abbas, Hassan Alaiwi and libero Hussain Sultan.
For Ahli, they relied heavily on Canadian professional Jerome Cross, and local stars Naser Anan, Mohammed Anan, Abbas Al Khabbaz, Ali Alsairafi, Sayed Mohammed Alabbar and Mahmood Abdulhussain, among others.
Najma secured their berth in the finals series after sweeping past Muharraq 3-0 (25-21, 25- 20, 25-18) in their single game semi-final clash.
Being the top-ranked team at the end of the round-of-six playoffs, Najma had a twice-to-beat advantage against Muharraq, and with their win, earned a direct place in the championship match-up.