Kenyan girls hold their nerves against Mexico
Kenya swopped positions with Mexico, moving one place up to fifth in the eight-nations Group 3 FIVB women’s world Grand Prix standing after winning their second match 3-2 (25-16, 20-25, 21-25, 25-17 19-9) against the host team in Monterrey on Sunday morning.
Kenya had lost 3-0 (25-18, 25-12, 25-23) to Peru in their opening match on Saturday, a contest that was characterized by poor reception.
However, the newly crowned Africa champions recovered from the setback to confine the hosts to a second lose in two meeting between the two sides in the event.
Cuba, Kazhakstan, Peru and Colombia occupy the first four positions in that order with six points respectively.
Kenya must win all their remaining matches, starting with Colombia on Sunday night to have any realistic chances of progressing to the third round to be held in Australia next month. The team still has matches against Australia, Algeria and Mexico.
With a much improved match statistics, Kenya cut Mexico’s 2-1 set advantage in the fourth set to force the game into a tiebreaker which they easily won 15-9 after the set had been tied at 4-4 and 8-8.
Kenya had a better attack of 56 to Mexico’s 47 but coach David Lung’aho will have to rectify his block in his last pool match against Colombia having managed only eight block against Mexico’s 13.
“I am happy with our response. The players displayed maturity to come back and win against the host team despite trailing in the match at some point. I brought in Maiyo (Lydia) for (Esther) Wangeci which proved to be the game’s turning point,” Lung’aho told Nairobi News.
Mercy Moim was Kenya’s best scorer with 16 points while Ruth Jepng’etich had 14 points. Captain Bracksides Khadambi had 13 points, Evelyn Makuto had 11 points while substitute Lydia Maiyo, who came in for Esther Wangeci in the second set, had 9 points.
Wangeci managed 5 points while setter Jane Wacu contributed 4 points.
Mexico’s Andrea Rangel was the top scorer of the match with 20 points. This was the second meeting between the two sides with Kenyan having beaten Mexico 3-1 in their debut appearance last year.
Meanwhile, the other African team in this competition, Algeria, defeated Australia 3-0 (25-19, 25-22, 25-13) for their first ever win in this competition after nine attempts.
Teams are awarded three points for a 3-0 or 3-1 sets victory and two points for a 3-2 sets win while a losing team earns a single point for winning two sets and no point for a 3-0 or 3-1 loss.