Kenya off to winning start in Africa junior volleyball

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Kenya women’s under 23 volleyball team started their 2016 Confederations of African Volleyball Under-23 championships campaign on a winning note, thrashing Botswana by straight sets of 25-14,31-29 and 25-20), at the Kasarani Gymnasium, yesterday.

The home girls started off strongly with Yvonne Wavinya’s powerful spikes giving them a 4-2 lead by Kenya Pipeline setter Veronica Tanui extended the lead 8-4 ahead of the first technical time out.

Kenya gifted the visitors free points from their poor service to make the scores 14-6.

However, the youthful Malkia Strikers responded quickly with KCB left attacker Doreen Marani scoring twice to hand them a 16-6 lead going into the 2nd TTO.

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Botswana coach Thengelani Isaac brought in Tshimolongo Merapelo for Seila Koketso, but no impact was made as Kenya easily claimed the first set 25-14.

Botswana came out tougher in the second set giving Kenya a run for their money.

However, after a few exchanges, Kenya managed to break their resistance taking a 7-6 lead before the match was temporarily stopped to due to power failure.

Powerful spikes from Botswana’s Solomon Thato saw them draw level 9-9 before capitalising on Kenya’s mix up at the back court to take a 14-12 lead, for the first time.

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This prompted coach Cathrine Mabwi to replace Maurine Agwalas with Ednah Mwombe.

The changes paid off as Kenya regained the lead (16-15) heading into the second TTO.

Kenya benefited from Botswana’s poor services from Botswana gifted Kenya free points to lead 23-19.

However, water tight blocks from Botswana saw both teams tie 24-24, 26-26, 28-28 before Wavinya and Tanui combined well to inspire Kenya to the second set victory 31-29.

Wavinya continued from where she left off in the second set to propel Kenya 8-2 and 16-5 in the in the 1st and 2nd TTO respectively. Kenya went on to claim the third set 25-20.

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However, it is today’s (4pm) clash against Egypt that Kenya’s real character and title ambitions will be tested.

This will be after an early kick off (2pm) match between Senegal and Botswana.

In yesterday’s tournament opening game, Paul Bitok trained Rwanda rallied from a set down to oust Senegal 3-1(26-28,25-17,25-14,25-19).

The top two teams in the tournament, played in a round robin format, will qualify for year’s World Championship in Ljubljana and Maribo, Slovenia.

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