TUCUMAN, Argentina, June 4- Kenya’s search for a maiden World Grand Prix Group Two win did not yield fruit on the second time of asking as they went down by straight sets (25-17, 25-17, 25-9) to Bulgaria at the Club Deportivo Floresta in Tucumán, Argentina.
Having given a fight against Argentina in the first match but going down, Kenya had vowed to improve their fortunes in match two against the more experienced Europeans, but the bid failed flat on its belly.
Both head coach David Lung’aho and captain Mercy Moim were least impressed with the performance, having compounded on mistakes they had worked to shave off in the two weeks they had camped in Argentina prior to the competition.
Lung’aho was incensed with the result and the performance saying;
“Congrats to Bulgaria for the win, I think they deserved it. We are not going to forgive ourselves as Kenya in the manner in which we played today but we still have one more match. We will try and focus and come back to our senses and play better against Dominican Republic.”
His sentiments were shared by Moim who said; “We didn’t do it well today. We lost concentration and made a lot of mistakes and at this level this should not be happening. I hope we can improve for the next match.”
It was a hugely under-performing match for Malkia Strikers with the best scorers Moim and Violet Makuto attaining only eight points in the match as compared to the 17 Brackcedes Agala chalked in the opener against Argentina.
In just an hour and eight minutes, Bulgaria’s job against Kenya was done. Captain Eva Yaneva put up a shift for the Europeans who had earlier been made to sweat by Dominican Republic in their first match before winning 3-2.
Kenya put up some resistance in the first set but could not stop an experienced and determined Bulgaria who went on to win 25-17.
Emiliya Nikolova’s blistering form in the second set joined by the efficiency of Nasya Dimitrova and captain Yaneva meant Bulgaria kept their pressure on Kenya in the second set.
The outside hitter’s lethal attack quickly gave Bulgaria the difference which Dimitrova widened from the middle.
Youngster Violet Makuto was the only solution for Kenya along with Moim the on form Nikolova extinguished every hope after pressing her side to pick the set 25-17.
Kenya couldn’t make left or right of Bulgaria’s third set performance with the set quickly fizzling oit, Kenya flattened at 25-9.
Kenya’s next match will be against Dominican Republic who made amends for their opening match loss to Bulgaria, hitting Argentina 3-2 (25 – 22, 16 – 25, 15 – 25, 25 – 23, 14 – 16).
The Argentines will be facing series leaders Bulgaria in the final match and will hope to extinguish them in the least 3-1 to win their own home tournament.
Against the Dominican Republic, Kenya will be seeking her 10th Grand Prix win but it will not come easy as they have not beaten the Dominicans in all four competitive matches they have played together.
The most recent meeting between these two sides was during the 2015 World Cup when Dominican Republic won by straight sets.
Brackcedes Khadambi who is Kenya’s top scorer in the tournament so far with 23 points will seek to inspire the side with her experience against the Dominicans before heading for the second tournament in Poland.