TOKYO, August 24 – National women volleyball team, Malkia Strikers, suffered their third successive defeat after falling in straight sets to Russia in the first round of the FIVB World Cup in Japan on Monday.
The Strikers went down 25-16, 25-21, 25-21 to see Russia maintain an unscratched record and lead to standings on eight points whilst Kenya lie second last just above fellow Africans Algeria without a point.
The record nine time continental winners lost their opening match 3-1 to Cuba before slumping in straight sets to Dominican Republic but after the end of Day 3, head coach David Lung’aho said they are out to gain the experience.
Against Russia, skipper Bracksides Agala shared the top scorers points with Tatiana Kosheleva on 16 apiece with attacker Mercy Moim producing 12 in the match where the European side overpowered Kenya in the blocks.
“Russia is a strong team. Our mission here is to play well and improve. We showed character in defeat today and we hope to win in the next matches,” Lung’aho underscored after the match.
Agala on the other hand added, “We played really hard and we played well in spite of this loss.”
Russia utilised a good attack technique that produced a balanced distribution of hits from its players with the Kenyans having some good offense surge in the first set but their defense could not contain the strong spikes to see Russia seal the first set win 25-16.
Lung’aho charges opened the second set with a 4-1 lead but Russia were quick to react and tied the game at 4-all.
The FIVB World Grand Prix gold winners kept up with the Russian tempo in some moments in the set but could not cope up with the stronger and taller attackers in the final plays as Russia still surfaced on top 25-21.
In the third set, Kenya emerged with the lead of 8-5 and 16-14 in both technical timeouts, but Russia mounted a wall in the final plays that secured the set and match victory 25-21.
The next match for the Malkia Strikers is against hosts Japan on Wednesday.