NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 4 – Malkia Strikers’ hopes of making it into the second round of the FIVB World Championship went up in smoke on Thursday after losing by straight sets to the Dominican Republic in a Group D match played at the Hamamatsu Indoor Arena in Japan.
Heading into their last group match of the competition, Kenya needed a win to progress to the second round having lost their last three, but they couldn’t match up the Dominicans as they lost in sets of 25-5, 25-7, 25-15.
It was a devastating performance from the team and they now remain fifth in the standings with the Dominicans joining Brazil, Serbia and Puerto Rico in qualifying to the next round while Kenya and Kazakhstan will be playing classification matches.
“We wanted to play well against the Dominican Republic. They destroyed our reception and were fast on counterattack. I wish the Dominican Republic success in the next round and hope they go all the way to the final,” Malkia head coach Japheth Munala said after the match.
Captain Mercy Moim was modest in defeat saying; “They played a super game. We played our best but they destroyed our reception. They are very tall and play well.”
Yonkaira Isabel led Dominican Republic’s onslaught against Kenya hitting 16 points while Lisvel Mejia and Brayelin Martinez added 12 points each in the victory. Leonida Kasaya and Sharon Chepchumba were Kenya’s best scorers, each accumulating five points.
The Dominicans dominated in all aspects of the game on this day, exhibiting their skills on attack, serve and blocks. The Kenyan defense had trouble dealing with the power of the Dominicans and appeared listless at times.
They struggled with reception throughout the match.
The Dominicans jumped out to an 8-3 lead in the opening set, scoring quickly on attack and being very proficient on serve. Galia Gonzalez gave the Dominican Republic the first set 25-5 with a spike from the wing.
The second set was a repeat of the first, as the Dominican Republic jumped to a 6-0 lead. Leading 9-2, the Dominican Republic went on a seven-point run to lead 16-2 at the second Technical Time Out.
The Kenyans had no answer for the Dominican attack and fell farther behind. The Dominican Republic took the set 25-7 on a service ace by Martinez.
The early part of the third set was competitive, as the score was 7-7 after the first 14 points, with Kenya showing energy on offense.
The Dominicans went back on the offensive, scoring four straight points to go up 11-7 and led 16-11 at the second Technical Time Out.. The Dominican Republic continued to build on the lead and clinched the set and match 25-15 on a service ace by Isabel.