Kenya’s coach David Lungaho and captain Mercy Moim both showed optimism for Sunday’s match against Puerto Rico as the African team kept alive their Olympic hopes after defeating Algeria in four sets on Saturday afternoon at the Women’s World Olympic Qualification Tournament on.
David Lungaho, coach of Kenya said: “ It was very important for us winning today and we look forward to win over Puerto Rico. We know it will be tough but nothing is impossible. Algeria has grown as a team and that player number 11 Yasmine Abderrahim was really impressive today with her spikes. She has a terrific talent.
In the Saturday game against Algeria, 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 the North Africans.
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
Mercy Moim, captain of Kenya said: “ After losing on Friday to Colombia we decided to concentrate better and came in today well focused and we will be focused for tomorrow’s match looking for the qualification to the Olympic Games.
Algeria coach Belacel Mohamed, was philosophical after the loss to Kenya: “It is the second time this team faces Kenya and I am satisfied with our improvement. The experience and strength of Kenya proved to be important. I feel satisfied with our job. Player No. 11 is only 17-years-old and she only needs experience. That’s what we want to get.
Meanwhile: Stephanie Enright and Karina Ocasio scored 17 and 15 points, respectively, sending Puerto Rico to the verge of qualifying to Rio Olympic Games after a 3-0 (25-17, 26-24, 25-18) victory over Colombia in front of a noisy crowd that packed Roberto Clemente Coliseum of San Juan on Saturday night.
Enright landed 14 spikes of her 22 attempts and added three blocks while Ocasio’s 15 points all came via spikes. Aury Cruz and Lynda Morales contributed 9 and 8 points, respectively, in the victory with Morales four blocks and two aces.
Amanda Coneo and Madeleine Montaño were the main offensive players for Colombia with 13 and 10 points. Melissa Rangel added 8 in the losing effort.
Puerto Rico came out on top in all the scoring categories, leading in attacks (42-35), blocking (13-8) and aces (5-1).