Cuba prevailed over Kenya on Day 1 of the FIVB Volleyball Women's World Cup in Tokyo, Japan.
Cuban lefty Regla Rainierys Gracia Gonzalez may have lost the scoring showdown against Kenyan Mercy Moim on a slim difference of 25 and 26 points, respectively, but Gracia’s contribution lifted Cuba to take the four-set win.
Kenya made a stunning start with a 12-8 advantage over Cuba in the first set, which can be attributed to Jane Wairimu’s well-distributed sets that allowed her team-mates to find the open spots in the Cuban court. Cuba had a sudden upsurge and tied the score at 19-all. Both squads raced until the final rallies but Cuba showed a better end game with a first set finish of 27-25. Kenya trailed Cuba but got a break to lead 16-14 in the second set. Cuba persistently pushed for another comeback and succeeded 25-23.
Kenya refused to end the match and grabbed a 25-12 victory in the third set that saw a more organised offence from Moim, who unloaded 16 kills out of her 18 points in three sets. In the fourth set, the Cubans regained their composure and led throughout the set. Kenya started a brilliant run to trail Cuba 20-19, but the latter still prevailed 25-22.