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Malkia in FIVB Grand Prix Relegation Battle

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The National women's Volleyball team will play Word Grand Prix,  Group Two leaders Puerto Rico in the opening match Friday evening in Colombia knowing that a loss will increase their chances of being related to group Three next year.

This match is expected to be tough for both teams more so Kenya who are still coming to terms with the shock miss at the Olympic ticket three weeks ago. That ticket was snatched by the Friday's opponent Puerto Rico. That aside, Kenya is also seeking their first win at this group having gained promotion from relatively weaker Group Three which they won last year.

While many people expected Malkia Strikers to replicate their form which saw them win the country's first international trophy in Australia, they have found the going tough this time round. The team is clearly missing the services of former assistant captain and centre blocker Ruth Jepng'etich who is still recirculating from illness since last August.

Puerto Rico on the other hand must win tomorrow's match by at least three sets to extend their lead at the top of the table to 11 points. A win will also guarantee them a place into the final next week.

Loss costlier

A loss for David Lung'aho charges will not only take their total loses to four but will put them on the express lane back to group Three next year. Relegation is what Malkia Strikers will be fighting for having lost to Argentina, Bulgaria and Dominican Republic  in Tucuman, Argentina last weekend by straight sets.

Sadly enough though for Kenya, they will face the same Argentina who has beaten them thrice in less than a month, including two test matches.

Another opponent lined up is Poland, second on the log with seven points. Poland who play Argentina need a win and maybe a point in their remaining two matches to progress to the finals.

Kenya are bottom of the eight team list with zero point from three matches. 

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Puerto Rico Awaits Malkia after a Hat-trick of Loses

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Kenya will have a mountain to climb in the second leg of the FIVB World Grand Prix when they face Group Three leaders Puerto Rico and Colombia in the next phase of their campaign next week.

Malkia Strikers lost their third straight Group Two match on Monday morning, falling to Dominican Republic in a fashionable straight sets (25-21,25-21,25-20) in Argentina. This performance though was an improvement compared to the last two loses going by the set scores.

Captain Mercy Moim, Kenya's highest scorer, only managed eight points from 33 spikes attempts with only two service attempts out of 15 landing in. The embarrassing statistics (Dominican Republic's top scorer De La Cruz De Pena landed 11 of her 28 spike-attempts on target), showed how poorly Kenya is especially on the service with their most prized asset setting the bar of underwhelming show.

"We played well but at the end of the sets we made too many mistakes. We have to keep working on the closures because we lost concentration," mourned Moim after the match.

The Dominican Republic earned two victories which took them top in this pool which also has Argentina and Puerto Rico while Kenya lost all three of their matches.

David Lung'aho must now employ another strategy going into the second stage led by Puerto Rico, the side that denied him the Olympic ticket just two weeks ago.

"We improved from the last two matches so I'm happy we could play on this level. We will work to improve for the second stage, but today I'm happy," Lung'aho said.

While Kenya, bottom in this group with zero points and a 0.000 ratio, may have to lose hopes of fighting for the top prize,  they'll have to turn their attention to at least winning one match at this very competitive stage. Puerto Rico have eight points and 9:3 win-loss set ratio, putting them a distant ahead of Kenya who has 0:9 set win loss ration.

Poland are second on the table with seven points followed by Dominican Republic and Bulgaria with six and five points respectively. 

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