Kenya's Mercy Moim spikes against Australian defence of Carey (left) and Bertolacci during the FIVB Grand Prix match on Sunday. [PHOTO: FIVB]
: Kenya picked up their third victory in the 2014 FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix on the final day of Pool S, beating Australia in five sets (25-17, 18-25, 25-21, 22-25, 15-11) at the Zatika Hall.
Kenya’s victory in five-setter against Australia did not garner the team enough points to unseat Kazakhstan in fourth place, they failed to qualify for the final phase.
The result saw Kenya miss out on Sh1 million prize money for failing to finish in the top four, and another jackpot of about Sh15 million that will be shared by the teams in the play-offs.
Its six matches ended in every scoreline scenario – won 3-1 against Mexico, 3-0 against Algeria, 3-2 against Australia, lost 2-3 and 1-3 against Bulgaria, 0-3 against Croatia.
Kenya coach David Lungaho said: “We did our best in this match and in our debut in the World Grand Prix. We have to live and fight another day. We gained a lot of experience this summer and I hope next year we will be back better and stronger.”
Kenya player Esther Wangeshi said: “I’m happy with this win. The match was very nice. We looked for 3-0 or 3-1 but it did not happen. I really enjoyed our debut season in World Grand Prix.”
Australia coach Mark Barnard: “I’m very happy because we fought hard and won two sets. In the fifth we made too many mistakes. Kenya started playing very aggressively and we could not keep our game at a high level.”
Kenya used its blocking and serving power, and held the lead since the start of the first set 8-6.
Australia stayed within a few points from their rivals before dropping off towards the end of the frame 16-10, allowing the African champions to take an early advantage and win in the first set 25-17.
The second set started with a series of lead changes and deadlocks until Rachel Rourke and Beth Carey slammed a few powerful attacks to give the lead to Australia at the first technical timeout 8-5. Australia were in charge at the second technical timeout 16-10 and soon it was clear that they will protect their lead until the end of second set 25-18.
In third set, Australia made a good start scoring five points in a row. Until the second technical timeout Kenya recovered and trailed Australia by a slim margin.
Mercy Moim took charge on the attack to get a mid-set lead of 16-13; until Kenya proved to be unstoppable in the third frame 25-21.
The scores were close once again in fourth set with a deadlock at 20-all.
Australia put pressure on Kenya with their powerful serves, as the Kenyans struggled on their reception.
Kenya had two blunders allowing their opponents to win the set 25-22. Kenya gained advantage 8-5 on court change in the fifth set and remained on the winning path until the end 15-11.