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Italy overpower popular Kenyans

The Italy players celebrate their third straight Pool B victory

Hamamatsu, Japan, October 31, 2010 – Italy defeated fan favourites Kenya in straight sets (25-9, 25-7, 25-21) on the third day of the FIVB 2010 Women's Volleyball World Championship.

Sunday's 3-0 victory at the Hamamatsu Arena made it three wins out of three for the Italians in Pool B, while leaving Kenya with the wrong sort of 100 per cent record.

FIVB Women's World Championship Japan 2010 official page

Even with Italy resting super setter Eleonora Lo Bianco after their marathon victory over the Netherlands on Saturday, the superior skills and longer volleyball tradition of Massimo Barbolini's team put them on a different level in the first two sets.

Nonetheless Kenya, having shown spirit with some powerful spiking from their taller players, rallied superbly in the third set – often leading until Italy stormed forward from a 15-all tie. It was a glimpse of the potential of Hidehiro Irisawa's enthusiastic side.

In the first set Italy had moved comfortably ahead at 5-1, with Lucia Bosetti, Giulia Rondon and others seeing extra playing time. Kenya responded with spikes from the lanky Lydia Maiyo and Mercy Moim to go 11-5 and 12-6 in front. But the Italians' higher skill quota prevailed, and Cristina Barcellini dipped a service ace to finish the set 25-9.

If a 3-3 scoreline early in the second set had Kenya dreaming of an upset, Italy quickly woke them up by going on a run of 12 straight points. Simona Gioli's spike eventually put the seal on a 25-7 set that seemed to last only a few minutes.

Kenya showed their full promise in the third and final instalment, initially hanging with Italy at 5-5 and then taking a 7-6 lead after some courageous digs. Spikes from captain Brackcides Khadambi soon made it 8-7 and 9-8 to the underdogs, and, with the home crowd chanting for Kenya, Moim made a brilliant left forearm save as a prelude to her side going 11-9 ahead.

The Italians, with Francesca Piccinini back from injury, restored parity at 11-11 yet Kenya refused to be brushed off. They were still level at 15-all until Italy's superior firepower took the set 25-21. After the match, Kenya revelled in the adoration of the Hamamatsu fans who had adopted Irisawa’s team as their own.

After a one-day break, Italy will play the Czech Republic on Tuesday, when Kenya face the Netherlands.


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