Mexicali, México, October 8 2013.- Cuba won their first match at FIVB Womens U23 World Championship after defeatig Kenya in three sets (25-19, 25-23, 25-21).
Rosana Giel scored 13 points and Alena Rojas 10 for Cuba. But Kenya had three players with double digit despite this result.
The Africans played their best volleyball at the tournament and showed no fear against the Caribbean players that had a total of 8 team aces against 7 by their rivals. Beatriz Vilches aced three times and Giel twice.
Blocks made a difference. Cuba finished 11-7. Giel had 4 blocking kills and Sulian Matienzo 3 while on the Kenyan side Makokha had three to achieve her best performance at the competition.
Violet Makuto and Eglay Kulova closed with 12 points apiece and captain Gaudencia Makokha finished with 10. Kulova aced a couple of times as well as setter Joy Lusenaka.
Cuban Coach Juan Carlos Gala decided to rest some of his players and started with Alena Rojas, Rossana Giel, Dayami Sanchez, Beatriz Vilches, Sulian Matienzo, and Jennifer Alvarez as well as libero Emily Borrell.
Kenia started with Joy Lusenaka, Triza Atuka, Violet Makuto, Eglay Kulova, Valentine Jepkoech, captain Gaudencia Makokha and libero Agripina Kundu.
Despite a winless tournament for Kenya, the story against Cuba was different than their previous matches even since the first set, when had a just six points déficit.
Captain Makokha and her teammates celebrated each point conversion and even recovered from a 15-17 despite some serving faults.
She and Opposite player Violet Makuto worked hard as wll as Kulova to achieve more than ten points in their individual account. The Africans eventually tied the scored to 22 in the second set.
Cuba won 25-23, but the Kenyans showed more confidence after scoring more than 20 points in the second and also in the third, something that was one of the goals set by coach Mulinge.
The Africans will face China in the last round of Pool Phase on Tuesday, while the Cubas that are now 1-3 will play against Germany. Both matches at Mexicali State Auditorium.
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