Hamamatsu, Japan, October 29, 2010 - Heavy favourites Brazil defeated a surprisingly strong Kenya team in straight sets (25-15, 25-16, 25-11) in the opening Pool B match at the 2010 FIVB Women's World Championship at Hamamatsu Arena on Friday.
The vision of the Brazil setters and precise spiking of Fabiana, Jaqueline and Joyce found gaps in the Kenya defence as the match progressed. But the Africans, who are hoping to win at least one game in Japan, can take a lot of confidence after staying close to the mighty Brazilians in the first two sets before withering in the third.
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Underdogs Kenya surprised Brazil by claiming the first point of the match on a block by Jackline Baraza. But Brazil quickly stormed into a 6-1 lead through some dipping serves from Sassa and sharp spikes by Jaqueline. After a timeout, Kenya inched back with two points to 6-3 and with the Africans' substitutes leading the cheers from the side, they closed the gap to 9-7. Joyce had a set go through her fingers, but Lydia Maiyo missed a chance for Kenya by serving wide.
Brazil's blocking wall of Dani Lins and Fabiana consistently repelled the Kenya attack, though Brackcides Khadambi did manage a score with a feathery spike that caught the Brazilians out of position. Yet Jose Guimaraes's team remained in command, with the accurate spikes of Sassa and Joyce extending the lead to 17-11. Although 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 their strong serving secured the set at 25-15.
In the second set, a spirited Kenya took a 3-2 lead. But Brazil came back to lead 7-4 as Fabiana nailed a spike straight down and Joyce extended the advantage at 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 then 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 cover 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. Sassa's clever tip to 18-6 underlined Brazil's superiority at the net and the South Americans eventually coasted to a 25-11 win. Brazil's next test is against the Czech Republic on Saturday, while Kenya continue their search for an historic first win against Puerto Rico.