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Malkia Strikers begin Olympic qualifiers on wrong footing

Malkia Strikers lost by straight sets to Colombia in Olympic qualifier.PHOTO/KVF
Malkia Strikers lost by straight sets to Colombia in Olympic qualifier.PHOTO/KVF

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico, May 21- Kenya’s women volleyball team Malkia Strikers began their World Olympic Qualifier on a wrong footing after going down by straight sets to Colombia in the first match of the qualifiers played early Saturday morning.

Kenya were not as effective as they were expected to be, losing easily in sets of 25-14, 25-15 and 25-13 and even the Colombian coach was surprised at how Kenya put up themselves in the match.

“That’s not the Kenya team we are used to. They seemed affected by the change of time. We dominated since the very beginning and it boosted our confidence. We had a good game for us and we are glad about it. Now our mind is focused in tomorrow’s match against Puerto Rico,” Colombia’s Argentine coach Eduardo Guillaume said after the match.

Kenya Captain Mercy Moim admitted that the team had not yet adjusted to the huge seven hour difference between Kenya and South America and took long to settle into the match having only been in San Juan for a day prior to the opening match.

Experienced Brackcedes Agala and Kenya Pipeline middle blocker Triza Atuka were Kenya’s best scorers in the match with eight and six points won.

The Malkia Strikers only had four successful spike attempts out of the 90 attempts with Atuka having the highest score with two of her eight attempted spikes being successful.

Moim who is normally one of Kenya’s best spikers had a disappointing afternoon as none of her attempted 18 spikes were successful.

In defense, Violet Makuto who was voted best blocker in the recently concluded African club championship was Kenya’s best with the highest block count of three.

Kenya now shift their attention to their second match against fellow Africans Algeria, a match that will be played at 12:10am local time (+3GMT) Sunday.

“We hope to improve. We want to play better tomorrow and also against Puerto Rico on Sunday. The most important thing is to improve our game,” head coach David Lung’aho said.

In the other match, Puerto Rico beat Algeria by straight sets of 25-10, 25-11 and 25-12 and now move top of the log. They play Colombia in what will be seen as the decider after Kenya plays Algeria.