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VOLLEYBALL: Kenya fall to Bulgaria in Grand Prix match

VOLLEYBALL AND HANDBALL By Oscar Pilipili and FIVB | July 28th 2014
Kenya's Mercy Moim (left) blocks against Bulgarial players during FIVB Grand Prix in Mexico on Saturday.[PHOTO:FIVB]

Exuberant Kenyan girls narrowly lost 2-3 (20-25, 25-23, 24-26, 26-24, 12-15) against Bulgaria in a closely contested five setter thriller in the FIVB World Grand Prix in Mexico City yesterday.

The results brought Kenya’s win-loss ratio to 1-1 while Bulgaria improved to 2-0 in the tournament.
Kenya beat hosts Mexico 3-1(25-18, 25-23, 18-25, 25-22) in their first match of the tournament last Saturday.
Algeria lost their second straight match after they went down to hosts Mexico 0-3 (19-25, 22-25, 23-25).

At World Championships, World Cup and Olympic Games, Kenya had played a European side on 17 occasions before Saturday’s game, losing every match, including 14 in straight sets.
Bulgaria led in kills 66-65, while Kenya finished leading in blocks 15-14 and in serves 5-3. Bulgaria took advantage of Kenya’s 30 unforced errors and committed 22 of their own.

Kenya’s Mercy Moim was the top scorer with 22 points. Kenya’s other top scorers were Lydia Maiyo (19), Brackcides Khadambi (14) and Everlyne Makuto (14).
With 21 points, including 18 kills and 3 blocks, Nasya Dimitrova was Bulgaria’s top scorer.
Kenya’s captain Khadambi said that weak defense cost them the match.
“I can say that our defense was weak and it contributed to our loss. It was a good match and Bulgaria played very well, and overall this is good exposure for us and maybe we will win next time,” Khadambi said.

Bulgaria Coach Ivan Petkov said the loss of a key player, Desislava Nikolova motivated the team to push harder.
“We want to dedicate the win to a great player, I hope the injury is not too serious but we all felt moved to push harder,” said Petkov.

Coach David Lungaho was very proud of his team: “The job they did today was splendid, Bulgaria were strong and I really feel sorry for Desislava’s injury. Bulgaria is a smart team and we will only improve if we face teams like that. My team also fought strongly extending the match to five sets and as we try to build, only good things can come out of this loss.”

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