Top ranked Serbia swamp Kenya
Kenya's Malkia Strikers yesterday suffered a crushing 3-0 (25-16, 25-9, 25-8) defeat at the hands of Serbia in their second Group "D" match of the FIVB Women's World Championship at the 8,000-seater Hamamatsu Arena in Hamamatsu, Japan.
As typhoon Trami raged in the city of Hamamatsu, Serbia, ranked third in the world, gushed hot taking only 62 minutes to complete their rout of a Kenyan team that had powered to a historic 3-0 win (25-23, 25-22, 25-21) over Kazakhstan in their opening match on Saturday.
Not many rallies were witnessed in this game as Kenya were unable to deal with the Serbians blocks and ended up dropping quick points especially in the second and third sets.
In the opening set, the Malkia Strikers became victims of poor service, as most of their serves flew right into the net. That was, however, Kenya's most comfortable set as they kept up with the Serbians at 5-8 and 10-16 in the first and second break before eventually succumbing 25-16. Serbia, took full control in the second set establishing a 4-0 lead at the first technical timeout and quickly spiking away to a 25-9 victory aided mainly by the service aces of Tijana Malesevic.
Then, in an elaborate demonstration of their superiority, Serbia opened a 9-1 lead in the final set and allowed the African nation only eight points as they cruised to take the set 25-8.
Malkia Strikers will next confront Puerto Rico at 10am today before taking on champions Brazil on Wednesday and Dominican Republic on Thursday in their preliminary matches.
“We knew Serbia were good. The first set we played well but we started going down in the second set. In the third set I had to change the players because they were getting very tired. I don't know why,” coach Japheth Munala said.
Cameroon, who are the only other African representatives in the competition, also lost 3-0 (14-25, 10-25, 16-25) to Germany on the second day of Pool “A” action in Yokohama.
Kenya are returning to the global competition after an eight year hiatus and have set qualification to the second round as their minimum target.
The competition brings together 24 teams grouped in four pools of six teams each.
Kenya’s Jane Wacu tussles for an aerial ball with a Serbian player during their FIVB World Championship Group “D” match at Hamamatsu Arena in Hamamatsu, Japan.