Czechs put Kenya out of its misery


HAMAMATSU, Japan, November 3– Kenya’s miserable campaign at the FIVB Women’s World Championships came to an end on Wednesday after losing their last match to the Czech Republic.

Brackcides Khadambi and company fell to their fifth straight sets Pool B loss at the Hamamatsu Arena losing 25-20, 25-15, 25-20.

Kenya roared like lions early in sets, leading 16-11 in the first and 8-6 in the third. But the Czech’s power game was simply too much for Kenya’s slow rotation to handle, and they rolled off long scoring streaks on their way to comfortable margins.

The Czechs came out lethargic after their five-set upset of Italy the previous night. Kenya jumped on them early, and jumped for joy even during points they had not yet won.

Mercy Moim’s block gave them 9-7, and a service ace made it 16-11. As Kenya began to dream of their first ever victory at the world level, the Czech’s scored six quick points to 17-16.

Another Moim block stopped the bleeding, but Aneta Havlickova’s spikes were too over-powering, giving the Czech’s a 20-18 advantage. 

The Czechs won 14 of the last 18 points, en route to a 25-20 set win.

The Czechs continued to roll in the second set, storming out 6-1, 10-3 and 18-7, until Kenya replied with three in a row.

The Czech’s took advantage of a big size advantage, with 197cm Kristyna Pastulova dwarfing 174cm Wachu at the net. Czech spikes continued to ring off Kenyan hands en route to a 25-15 set.

In the third set, Kenya again scampered to early leads of 8-6 and 9-8. But Kenya couldn’t handle Pastulova’s swerving serves, and the Czechs rolled off 7 unanswered points.

Comfortably ahead, the Czech’s brought on substitutes to gain valuable experience for the next round. Kenya clawed back to 21-15, with the Japanese announcer leading the pro-Kenya cheers, as a half-full arena hoped Kenya would win at least one set in Hamamatsu.

The diminutive and effervescent Wachu raised hopes with a clever placement into open space, as Kenya went on a 8-1 run and trailed by two 21-19. But the mountain proved too high for the valiant Africans, and the Czech’s won 25-20.

The Czech Republic will advance to a second round match Saturday in Nagoya, while Kenya will go home with pride after playing better than expected and winning the hearts of fans in Hamamatsu.