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Brave Kenya fall to Brazil

HAMAMATSU, Japan, October 29 – Kenya lost to Brazil in straight sets in their opening match of the FIVB Women’s World Championships at the Hamamatsu Arena in Japan on Friday.

David Lungaho’s team surprisingly mounted a strong challenge against the South Americans in the Pool B match only to go down 25-15, 25-16, 25-11.

Jackline Baraza won Kenya’s first point with a block on the Brazilian attack.

But Brazil quickly stormed into an early lead of 6-1 on dipping serves from Massa and sharp spikes by Jaqueline.

After a time-out, Kenya inched back with 2 points to 6-3, but Brazil’s wall of blockers thwarted Kenya’s spikers.

With Kenya’s substitutes leading cheers from the side, Kenya stayed close to the heavily-favored Brazilians, trailing only 9-7.

Joyce of Brazil had a set go through her fingers, but Lydia Maiyo of Kenya missed a chance by serving wide. Brazil’s blocking wall of Dani Lins and Fabiana consistently repelled Kenya’s attack, though Brackcides Khadambi scored on a feathery spike that caught Brazil out of position.

But the accurate spikes of Massa and Joyce kept Brazil in command, with a 17-11 lead.  After a spike by Kenya’s Mercy Moim narrowed the gap to 20-13, Brazil surged ahead on Jaqueline’s clever tip into open space, and strong serving gave them the set 25-15.

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In the second set, a spirited and talkative Kenya took a 3-2 lead. But Brazil came back to lead 7-4 as Fabiana nailed a spike straight down. Joyce extended the lead to 11-7 on a spike that Kenya deflected out.

A block by Kenya’s Baraza and Moim narrowed the gap to 12-9, but Moim’s serve floundered into the net. Kenya stayed positive, scoring two in a row on missed Brazilian blocks.

But the downward spikes of Fabiana and Jaqueline evaded the diving Kenyans, keeping Brazil in command at 20-12 and finally 25-16.

After probing in the first two sets, Brazil found more holes in Kenya’s coverage in the third, as Dani Lins scored on clever placements, and Fabiana’s spikes from the right wing found space cross-court near the sideline, for early leads of 12-4 and 16-4. Sassa’s clever tip to 18-6 punctuated Brazil’s superiority at the net, and Brazil went on to coast to a 25-11 win.

Kenya’s next match is against Puerto Rico on Saturday.

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