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FIVB Women's World Championship Japan 2006
Match Description
Ticas storm back for historic win

Costa Rica celebrate an incredible victory

 Tokyo, November 4, 2006: Costa Rica produced a memorable comeback to beat Kenya 3-2 and win their first match on their debut appearance at the World Championships.
 The 33rd-ranked Ticas fought back from two sets down and saved four match points in the fourth set to win a pulsating Pool A encounter 19-25, 23-25, 25-16, 32-30, 15-9.
 Costa Rica improved to 1-3 but Kenya dropped to 0-4 and have yet to win a match in their fourth World Championships appearance.
 Both teams started the match with only one thing on their minds -- victory, which would be a first for either in the World Championships.
 And the opening exchanges suggested it was going to be close all the way with such a prize at stake.
 Kenya's big hitters Lydiah Maiyo and captain Dorcas Ndasaba were quickly into their stride, but the Costa Ricans looked strong at the net through Paola Ramirez and Johanna Moore, the latter bringing up the first TTO at 8-7 for the Ticas after a short set from Onika Pinnock.
 But when Kenya surged ahead 11-9, Costa Rica called the first TO of the match. They could not stop the rot, though, as Kenya's Leonidas Kamende took control of the net and some wild Ticas spiking resulted in the Africans holding a seven-point lead, 16-9, at the second TTO.
 Costa Rica setter Dionisia Thompson halted the flow of Kenyan points with a clever winner into space in the corner, and a block by Verania Willis rejuvenated her team so that Kenya needed a TO with their lead down to four at 16-12.
 Maiyo continued to blaze away on the Kenyan left flank, but Ticas captain Verania Willis responded with some flashing winners of her own. Trailing 22-16, Costa Rica called their second and final TO of the opening frame, but they could not prevent Kenya from taking it 25-19.
 There was a scrappy start to the second set, but Kenya made fewer mistakes and reached the first technical break ahead 8-6.
 A mighty winner from Maiyo gave Kenya a 14-10 lead and had the Ticas running for cover with a TO, but there was still a four-point gap, 16-12, at the second TTO.
 A gentle lob from Karen Cope reduced Costa Rica's deficit to just one point, 16-15, and another well-crafted winner from Angela Willis on the left wing kept the Ticas in the hunt.
 In Doris Palang'a and Maiyo, the Kenyans appeared to have more power out wide, and forced a Ticas TO at 22-20. Kenya had two set points at 24-22, and needed both of them. Ndasaba climbed high on the left, spiked, and the block bounced out to give Kenya the second set 25-23 and a 2-0 lead.
 If the Kenyans thought the Ticas were finished, they were wrong. The Central Americans came out even more determined for the third set and led 8-5 at the first TTO thanks to some aggressive net work from Ramirez.
 Angela Willis kept the Ticas ticking out wide, and at 12-8 forced Kenya into a TO. This lead grew quickly as Verania Willis and Ramirez stepped on the gas, and Cope brought up set point at 24-15 with another soaring leap and sharp spike on the right. Angela Willis completed the job on the Ticas' second set point, 25-16.
 Costa Rica were flying now, and tore through the Kenyans at the start of the fourth set. They led 8-0 at the first TTO, by which time Kenya had taken off Maiyo, and Moore made it 9-0 at the net after some acrobatic defence from libero Marianela Alfaro.
 Kenya ended the run at nine when Catherine Wanjiru punched one to the left corner, and for once Alfaro could not keep the ball in play.
 The Kenyan block of Janet Wanja and Jacky Barasa began to click into gear, and Wanjiru and Ndasaba brought them right back into it. Palang'a came steaming in on the right wing to pull Kenya level 15-15, and it was anyone's set and match.
 The Ticas led 20-16 but Kenya would not go away, and won seven straight points to lead 23-20.
 There was an extraordinary end to the fourth set. Kenya missed four match points before Costa Rica won it 32-30 on their fourth set point in a sequence which left the crowd breathless and set up the tie-breaker.
 Once again the Ticas started the set strongly and led 5-2 and 7-3, playing at a pace and with a determination that Kenya could not match. A sizzling winner from Verania Willis after a decoy leap by Ramirez took Costa Rica to the turnaround ahead by four, 8-4, and Morales pounced for 10-5, forcing a desperate Kenya TO.
 When Ndasaba spiked wide to give the Ticas the lead at 12-5, all looked lost for Kenya. Angela Willis brought up match point at 14-8, and Cope finished it to spark wild scenes of celebration, 15-9.