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Puerto Rico Slams Olympics Door Shut on Malkia

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Puerto Rico will compete in volleyball for the first time ever in the Olympic Games after its women’s team captured a straight-set 3-0 (25-8, 25-23, 25-15) victory over Kenya on Sunday evening in front of a partisan crowd at Roberto Clemente Coliseum of San Juan.
 
The victory earned Puerto Rico the last ticket available to the 12-team Olympic tournament joining hosts Brazil, China, Serbia, Russia, Argentina, United States, Cameroon, Japan, Italy, Netherlands and South Korea while Kenya, who last appeared at the Olympics in Athens in 2004, miss out.
 
The wild celebration began even before the first whistle with the fans chanting and dancing in the stands to the beat of Latin rhythms. And when the match started they roared and cheered for every point until the conclusion of the actions.
 
Karina Ocasio was the lone Puerto Rican in the well distributed offense with 15 points. Yarimar Rosa, Stephanie Enright and Lynda Morales each contributed 7 points.
 
Scoring
 
Kenya’s Noel Murambi finished with 12 points in the losing effort while Everlyne Makuto and Bracksides Khadambi added 9 and 8 points, respectively.
 
The strong and well located serves and tight defense at the net carried Puerto Rico in a lopsided first set where the Kenyan girls seemed out of sync. The local team led 8-2 and 16-5 at the technical time-outs relying on the attack and defense of middle blockers Morales and Oquendo. The set closed 25-8 with a right-wing cross-court by Ocasio who finished with 5 points.
 
The Kenyans looked more relaxed in the second set when Murambi broke a tied score at 7-all with a big spike but Puerto Rico came back to take the lead 16-13. Kenya recovered to claim back the one-point lead 17-16 behind a kill by Everlyne Makuto. At 23-all Kenya made a defensive mistake and Cruz finished the set 25-23 with her spike from the back court.
 
Puerto Rico took an 8-6 lead in the third against a relentless Kenya inspired by the veteran Khadambi and with the attacks from E. Makuto.. Finally Puerto Rico took command of the score 16-10. Rosa gave enough comfort with spike and ace for 18-12 and the fans were roaring. Daly Santana sealed the triumph with a bomb from the back court for a 25-15 and the ticket to Rio.
 
Kenya finished third in the four-nation repechage tournament, losing to Puerto Rico and Colombia and beating continental rivals Algeria who finished last. (FIVB)
 
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Rio 2016: Khadambi Stars as Kenya Conquer Algeria

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Veteran Bracksides Khadambi recorded 23 points, including 5 aces and four blocks, to lead Kenya in the 3-1 (25-14, 23-25, 25-14, 25-16) victory over Algeria at the Women’s World Olympic Qualification Tournament on Saturday.
 
It was the first victory for Kenya in the four-team competition after losing to Puerto Rico on Friday. The second loss in as many days eliminated Algeria from the contention for the last ticket available to the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
 
Kenya dominated 15-4 in blocks and held a slight margin in aces 11-9. The winners made 16 unforced errors to 24 by the defeated side.
 
Triza Atuka contributed 15 points to the victory while Mercy Moim and Violet Makuto each added 13 points.
 
Yasmine Abderrahim had a match-high 30 points for Algeria but her heroic performance was not enough to open the gates of the victory to her side.
 
Kenya closes its participation playing hosts Puerto Rico on Sunday afternoon while Algeria meets Colombia.
 
Khadambi and Murambi contributed heavily to give Kenya the first set 25-14 with the veteran Khadambi registering 6 points, including two aces, and Murambi landing four spikes. 
 
It was a close affair in the second set won by Algeria 25-23 after leading at both pauses just by one point. The Algerian side was carried by the big cross-court spikes of Abderrahim who had 20 points at that stage of the match.
 
The defense at the net in the Kenyan side was the deciding factor in the third set won by Kenya with a comfortable margin. Moim and Atuka closed the actions 25-14 with two big blocks.
 
The Kenyans kept their strong game at the net and repeated their victory of the previous set winning 25-16. (FIVB)
 
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