Malkia Strikers painfully exit FIVB World Championship

Malkia Strikers players celebrate after scoring a point against Puerto Rico during their 2022 World Championship match in Arnhem, Netherlands yesterday. [FIVB]

Malkia Strikers produced a good show despite bowing out of the FIVB World Championship in Arnhem, Netherlands.  

Kenya were beaten 3-1 (25-15, 19-25, 25-18, 25-20) in their last Group A match last evening. 

Coming from a 3-0 defeat to European giants Italy on Thursday, the record African champions needed to beat Puerto Rico to progress to the next round. 

But that never came to pass as the islanders shattered the Kenyans’ dreams. 

Kenya’s only win in the competition came when they beat Cameroon 3-0 on Tuesday.  

Puerto Rico started strongly in the first set pushing the score to 7-2, which became an upper hill task for Malkia Strikers to narrow the gap. The Kenyan girls had poor blocks, which their opponents took advantage of.  

Led by their legend Karina Ocasio, Puerto Rico extended the lead to 17-9 and later to wrap up the set 25-15. 

Malkia Strikers had seven attacks in the first set against Rico’s six but the latter had three blocks. Veronica Adhiambo and Edith Wisa had four and three points in the first set respectively.  

Malkia Strikers played like wounded lionesses as they terrorised their opponents. Puerto Rico took the lead to the 13th point before Kenya enjoyed the services of Adhiambo and hard-hitting Sharon Chepchumba to take over the lead and extend the tally to 18-14, 21-15 and 25-19 at the end of the set.  

The third set was see-saw with both teams exchanging leadership before tying 6-6, 11-11, 13-13, 14-14. However, Puerto Rico took over the lead to win the set 25-18 to enjoy a 2-1 lead as the match went to the fourth set.  

The fourth set belonged to Puerto Rico after taking a 7-1 lead thus putting Malkia Strikers under pressure. The Rico players extended the lead to 18-6. 

However, Malkia Strikers put more pressure to narrow the gap but it was too late to level the score at 2-2 as Puerto Rico wrapped up the set 25-20 to eliminate Kenya from the global showpiece.   

Adhiambo was the highest scorer for Malkia Strikers with 22 points followed by Wisa at 12. Abercrombie Brittany and  Ocasio bagged 20 and 13 points respectively for Puerto Rico. 


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