Doha, Qatar, December 15, 2010 – The Dominican Republic's Mirador claimed victory in the opening match of the 2010 FIVB Women's Club World Championship at the Al-Gharafa sports hall in Doha, Qatar by defeating Kenya Prisons in straight sets (25-20, 25-11, 25-17) as the competition got off to a flying start on Wednesday.
Annerys Vargas topped the scoring with 14 points although a significant factor in the success of the Dominicans was the massive haul of African mistakes, totalling 22 in all.
After a long hiatus, some 16 years since the last edition held in Sao Paulo, a total of six teams were finally back on court to compete for the Women's Club World Championship and the honour of officially opening the tournament went to Mirador and Kenya Prisons.
What the clubs have in common is a very young roster, with an average age of 23 years, and limited international experience, although quite a few of the Africans did recently compete at the FIVB World Championship 2010 Japan for the Kenya national team.
In front of an audience composed mainly of school pupils, the match started at a pretty slow pace with a number of silly errors moving the score along. Mirador, nevertheless, showed more consistency and got a first positive break at 12-8 after a winning serve from Candida Arias. As at the World Championship in Japan, the Kenyans were loudly celebrating every single point they scored and with the Dominican reception faltering a few times, they eventually moved into the lead at the Second Technical Timeout (STT) at 16-13, via an ace from Diana Khisa.
The last word had yet to be said in the opening set, however, as Mirador levelled at 18-all and then – with a couple of tricky serves the Kenyan reception could not handle properly – regained the lead at 21-19. Ana Yorkira Binet earned two set balls at 24-20 with two more winning serves and she underlined her positive contribution by adding another ace to her personal count to close the set.
With Norda Foppapedretti Bergamo the pre-tournament favourites in Pool B, this game looked likely to determine which side would join the Italians in qualifying for the semifinals so both teams returned to the court for the second set highly focused, determined to increase their efficiency, especially in reception. Mirador succeeded in that task by putting the Kenyan receivers under pressure from the serving zone, and this proved the main weakness of the African side. The Dominicans built a big lead at 15-6 and did not slow down the pace as they closed the set at 25-11.
The Dominicans, playing in front of a number of illustrious guests, including their country's ambassador to Qatar, as well as NORCECA president Mr Cristobal Marte Hoffiz, certainly did not disappoint in the third set as they continued to control the game. Despite Kenya Prisons almost drawing even before the STT, Mirador stayed focused enough to stretch the margin to a safe 20-16 as top scorer Vargas spiked from the wing before then hitting the winning jump serve.