Malkia Strikers on impressive start at World Volleyball Championships with key victories
Following Malkia Strikers crucial 3-0 (25-20,27-25,25-19) over traditional rivals and Continental powerhouses Cameroon in the FIBA World Volleyball Championships means that Kenya, with three points, will need to win at least a single match among the two remaining matches featuring Italy and Puerto Rico.
Cameroon started out on a high note though briefly, making matters worse for Kenya by reducing the deficit to 24-18 and forcing the latter into a couple of serve errors.
Kenya gained momentum and came off from the shaky ground that the Cameroonians had earlier set, to take charge of the rest of the match.
The win came against the backdrop of two previous back-to-back matches against hosts Netherlands and Belgium as well.
Next they will face-off Italy today in Game 4 as they seek to enter the next round of the competition.
Italy beat Belgium in straight sets, in an earlier match, to top the group with nine points, three ahead of the Dutch who are yet to play their third match game against Puerto Rico.
In the Tuesday night duel, the Kenya team had to dig deep in the second set with the enterprising play of skipper Edith Wisa, Mercy Moim and Sharon Chepchumba lifting them overall.
Their blocking and outside attacks improved a great deal from the games played before.
This was the first meeting between the duo and it was sweet revenge for Kenya who lost in the last encounter exactly a year ago during the Africa Nations Championships in Rwanda where the West Africans beat Malkia Strikers 3-1.
Lanky Chepchumba was a menace with attacks and blocks and helped push the Kenyans through the line in the match and thus Kenya settled in to take the first set 25-20.
The second set was epic and tight in what was a see-saw affair with points exchanging hands with eventually Kenya jumping through with two extra points to get 27-25 against a resurgent Cameroon.
The third set was also awing to watch with Kenya leading as the opponents attempted to play catch up. Kenya took the first four points before the opponents mustered any as they took cruise control in the proceedings.
Led by the attacking prowess of experienced Moim, Kenya continued to dominate opening up the gap to 18-12 before Cameroon raced to close the gap in the latter stages of the match 24-18 with Kenya beginning to slacken and throw away points with bad serves as Kenya then woke up to close the set and match eventually at 25-19.