FIVB Women's World Championship Japan 2006
Japanese refuse to bow to African Queens
November 3, 2006: World No. 7 Japan won their second consecutive match
in Pool A, downing 11th-ranked Kenya 3-0 on Friday evening.
Maiyo (right) of Kenya against Takahashi and Araki (JPN)
the straight-sets victory, by 25-15, 25-17, 25-10, the home team
improved their win-loss record to 2-1 and dropped Kenya's African
Queens to 0-3.
Miyuki Takahashi scored the first two points of the
match before Leonidas Kamende pounced at the net for Kenya. Japan,
however, countered at the net with spikes for Makiko Horai and Erika
Araki as the home team looked to dominate through the middle and out
With the Kenyan blockers covering all the options, setter
Yoshie Takeshita decided to finish off a move herself, and, with a
swift movement of her right arm, spiked Japan to the first TTO 8-5.
Kenyan block clicked into gear, and Japan needed a TO when their lead was cut to two at 12-10. Captain Dorcas Ndasaba and Lydiah Maiyo can
pierce any defence, and Japan knew they would be in for a hard game.
Jacky Barasa underlined this with a swift kill at the net, but Japan
regrouped to lead 16-12 at the second TTO.
spectacular block by Shuka Oyama prompted a Kenya TO one point later,
and the relentless pace of the Japanese attack was beginning to wear
down the Africans.
A brilliant running spike from Araki after an
overhead set from Takeshita carried Japan forward, and the home team
closed out the first set 25-15.
Doris Palang'a and Barasa gave
Japan some uncomfortable moments early in the second, but could not
prevent the home team from leading by three at the first TTO. Oyama was
blocking well, but was finding it difficult to penetrate the Kenyan
defence, and Japan called a TO when falling behind 9-8.
Ndasaba is an inspiring captain, and her defensive work and spiking enabled Kenya to stay out in front, 16-14, at the second
was beginning to find her range, though, and every point she scored was
greeted with a chant of "Wang Jiao" by the home fans, referring to her
Chinese name before she turned Japanese. Kimura began to flex her
attacking muscles, too, and Araki got to work on the block, forcing a
Kenya TO when down 18-17.
Kenya lost their way down the stretch as
Japan moved ahead 22-17, and Kenya's Japanese head coach Sadatoshi
Sugawara took his team off again for a final team talk. Two soaring
Oyama spikes down the middle swept Japan to set point at 24-17, and
confusion in the Kenyan defence on Takeshita's gentle serve did the
Middle blocker Sachiko Sugiyama joined the action in
the third set, and her high-speed net play helped Japan to jump out to
a 5-0 lead and 8-2 at the first TTO.
A Kamende block on Araki
offered the Kenyans hope, but a well-drilled Japanese move with Araki
as the decoy and Kimura the killer had the stadium shaking with the
thunder of 10,000 stick balloons. Leading 16-7 at the second TTO, Japan
were almost home and dry.
irrepressible Takahashi scattered the Kenyans around the court, and an
Araki serve crept through as the Kenyans wilted. Sugiyama took Japan
closer with a flashing angled winner at the net, Oyama brought up match
point at 24-9 and Sugiyama finished it 25-10 when her spike was blocked