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Malkia Strikers wins the opener in Japan

Malkia Strikers, the Kenya’s national women volleyball team started well in the FIVB world Volleyball championships in straight sets against Kazakhstan in Japan.

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The volleyball queens beat Kazakhstan in a pool A match in 25-23, 25-22, 25-21 at 8,000-seater Hamamatsu Arena in Hamamtsu today.

The win broke the jinx, registering their ever victory in the global competition

Captain Mercy Moim delivered a splendid performance throughout the match, posting a match-high 24 points in the win over Kazakhstan – who are ranked 12 places above Kenya in the FIVB world rankings.

Edith Wisah added 10 points for Kenya in the impressive triumph as Kazakhstan’s Sana Anarkulova led the Eastern Europeans with 11 points.

The first set was the most daunting for Kenya, as they trailed Kazakhstan 2-8 and 13-16 at the first and second technical timeouts respectively before recovering late in the game to win 25-23.

In the second set, the African queens led from start to finish, leading 8-3 and 16-13 at the first and second time outs and wrapping it up with a more comfortable 25-22 score line.

With Kazakhstan staring at yet another opening day defeat in their four appearances at the World Championship, the third set became a nail biting affair which needed the experience and prowess of setter Jane Wacu.

The 35-year-old award winning setter took charge to bring Kenya level on 10-10 after trailing for the first few minutes of that third set. After that, the Kazakhs struggled with blocking and made unforced errors that allowed Kenya to stay on the lead. Christine Siwa soared for a palm stinging spike that gave Kenya the 25-23 score that they needed to close that final set.

Kenya will now confront Serbia Sunday afternoon in their next match, before taking on Puerto Rico, champions Brazil and Dominican Republic in other preliminary matches.

The Malkia Strikers are returning to the global competition after an eight-year hiatus, and they have set qualification to the second round as their minimum target.

The competition brings together 24 teams who have been spread across four pools of six teams each. The top four teams from each pool will advance to the second round.

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