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Relegation stares Malkia after Poland loss

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The national team of Kenya, Malkia Strikers.PHOTO/FIVB.
The national team of Kenya, Malkia Strikers.PHOTO/FIVB.

WŁOCŁAWEK, Poland, June 11- Kenya’s Malkia Strikers must beat Argentina when they meet for the fourth time in less than two weeks on Sunday evening to keep the slimmest hopes of avoiding relegation from Group Two of the 2016 FIVB World Grand Prix.

Pushed by a hugely supportive home crowd, Poland needed 62 minutes to quickly see off the national women’s volleyball team in straight sets (25-18, 25-10, 25-14) in a match that saw the Kenyan girls step off the gas pedals compared to their performance on Friday against Puerto Rico.

The team put up a good show in the first set but had to contend with reception errors to which Poland gained most of their points from.

Tamara Kaliszuk took the game to the first technical time out with a sumptuous spike with Kenya trailing 8-4.

But on return, Kenya stung with a bit of venom and Noelle Muirambi twice picked points with powerful spikes off the left and Captain Mercy Moim’s block playing roles in Kenya reducing the gap to 10-9 in favuor of the hosts.

Poland though made use of the tiny spaces the Malkia Strikers left when they went forward on the blocks and they managed to keep a safe distance with the Kenyans, going 16-11 up by the second technical time out.

The hosts, who are second in the group behind Puerto Rico, pumped up the pace upon return and they pushed the scores to 22-16, prompting head coach David Lung’aho to call in a technical time out, but Poland were still on top of things and managed to pick the set 25-18.

Noel Murambi and Jane Wairimu.PHOTO/FIVB
Noel Murambi and Jane Wairimu.PHOTO/FIVB

The African queens underperformed in the second set with Kaliszuk and Zuzanna Efimienko being efficient with their strong spikes off both ends of the net.

Poland managed to stay comfortably on the steering wheel, with Magdalena Hawryła’s strong spike taking the game to the second technical time with the hosts leading 16-7.

Poland went on to boss the game and Kaliszuk was again at the heart of things, helping the team take the set 25-10 in an impressive 20 minutes.

Poland were 16-11 up by the second technical time out and an ace from Efimienko took them ever close to a straight sets win, the scores pulling to 21-13, not even the introduction of Trizah Atuka late on in the match could change the result.

Hawryła’s service wasn’t perfectly received talking the score to 24-13 and next, the impressive blocker mounted a wall alongside Malwina Smarzek to give Polska the win.

Moim was Kenya’s best scorer in the match with11 points and she expects to fire up in the same form when they face Argentina in a must win match for the Malkia Strikers.

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