TOKYO, Japan, August 22 – National women volleyball team, opened their FIVB World Cup campaign on a wrong footing after suffering 3-1(27-25, 25-23, 13-25, 25-22) four set defeat to Cuba at the Yoyogi National Stadium on Saturday.
Impressing attacker, Mercy Moim was the highest point scorer on 26 points ahead of Cuban Gracia Gonzalez’s 25 but that was not enough to lift the African champions who warmed up for the global showpiece after playing a series of build-up matches against local clubs.
Kenya made a stunning start with a 12-8 advantage over Cuba in the first set, which can be attributed to Jane Wacu’s well-distributed sets that allowed her team-mates to find the open spots in the Cuban court.
Cuba had a sudden upsurge and tied the score at 19-all with both squads racing until the final rallies but Cuba showed a better end game with a first set finish of 27-25.
David Lung’aho charges trailed Cuba but got a break to lead 16-14 in the second set before their opponents persistently pushed for another comeback and succeeded 25-23.
The FIVB Grand Prix gold winners refused to end the match and grabbed a 25-12 victory in the third set that saw a more organised offence from Moim, who unloaded 16 kills out of her 18 points in three sets to derail the Cuban win.
In the fourth set, the Cubans regained their composure and led throughout the set. Kenya started a brilliant run to trail Cuba 20-19, but the latter still prevailed 25-22.
Kenya will be seeking to redeem themselves when they face Dominican republic in their second match on Sunday.