Malkia Strikers complicated their chances of featuring in the second round of the ongoing FIVB Women’s World Championship in Hamamatsu, Japan after they lost to Puerto Rico by three straight sets 3-0 (25-20, 25-22, 25-15) yesterday.
With two matches left for the Kenya side, their chances of finishing in the top four hang by a thread.
Malkia need two wins in their remaining group D matches to qualify for the next round and after the Puerto Rico loss, their only chance remains with Dominican Republic. The match against Brazil will be tough for the home girls and coach Japeth Munala had already ruled out a win against the South Americans but seemed determined to give them a run for their money.
“Our aim today was to qualify for the second round but Puerto Rico stopped us. We still have two games left. We will try to grow in the coming matches. We led 19-15 in the second set but did not receive well after that. We must get ready for Brazil next. We will go all out against them,” said Munala.
The opening set was competitive, highlighted by quick points in the first half and few rallies to speak of. Puerto Rico held the lead for most of the set until Noel Murambi tied the score at 13-13 with a crosscourt spike.
The Puerto Ricans, however, scored three of the next four points to lead16-14 at the second Technical Time Out (TTO). Kenya levelled at 19-19 but was unable to take the lead and Puerto Rico grabbed the set 25-20. Munala’s charges had increasing problems with reception in the second set as Puerto Rico continued to pound away on attack.