TOKYO, Japan, November 16 – Host Japan completed another miserable outing for Kenya’s women volleyball side at the ongoing FIVB World Cup by breezing to a straight set victory on Wednesday.
Japan kept their Olympic dreams alive and set up a crunch match with Germany on Thursday when they beat Kenya in 25-22, 25-10, 25-9 to leave Paul Bitok’s side winless in their nine encounters so far.
The win, Japan’s eighth out of eight against the Africa champions, puts the world number 4 level side level with Germany on 19 points knowing the loser of Thursday’s game faces an enormous task to finish in the top three.
For Kenya, the likelihood of another wooden spoon outing at the world event looks in the offing with chances of causing an upset in their remaining fixtures against China on Thursday and Italy, who sealed their Olympics slot with defeat of Germany a day later.
Saori Kimura with 15 points led the charge for the hosts with support by great team serving as Japan posted 11 aces in total, with Yoshie Takeshita and Erika Araki delivering three apiece.
Kenya were led by the impressive Mercy Moim in their losing effort with nine.
Japan went into this match looking to repeat their last result against Kenya, a straight sets win at the 2007 World Cup in Sapporo, but the world number 15 showed good spirit early on, sticking with Japan thanks to great blocking by Moim and captain Brackcides Khadambi (the latter with three) at 7-7.
But cheered on by a noisy home crowd, Japan would snag 10 of the next 11 points including a pair of Takeshita aces and capped by a stubborn block by Ebata Yukiko on Esther Wangechi to go up 17-8.
Japan’s great serving continued as Ebata followed with a pair of aces too, trumping Kenya in the first 25-11.
In the second it was more of the same as Japan kept rolling, again on strong aces from Takeshita and Nana Iwasaka and spikes from Mai Yamaguchi and Saori Sakoda off the bench to open a healthy 12-2 lead.
The youngest player in the Kenya line up Everlyne Makuto, 21, had some success on the wing for Kenya, showing great athleticism on a number of powerful spikes for her side but Japan’s polished attack was firing on all cylinders as they sold Kenya with an Erika Araki decoy while Sakoda brought her patented flying spike from the backcourt to score.
As an encore she followed with Japan’s eighth ace at that point to extend the lead to 17-6. A powerful strike from the other Saori (Kimura) gave Japan another easy set 25-10.
Japan’s captain Araki got in on the fun to start the third, pitching in a spike early followed by an incredible block on an attacking Makuto to make it 8-4.
They continued to click on a mid-set run of 12 straight points that included seven from Saori alone (two on blocks) and an incredible three aces from Araki.
Such was Japan’s dominance, the 1977 champions would close it out with ease 25-9 on a block from Shinnabe Risa.
– Sourced from FIVB.com