Kenya lost ground by going down 1-3 (25-18, 23-25, 20-25, 18-25) to Egypt in their 2016 women's under-23 Africa Nations championship match played at Safaricom Indoor Arena on Monday.
Kenya's coach Catherine Mabwi rested Captain Pauline Nafula who sprained her ankle in the match against Botswana as the only change in her starting line up.
In this match, Kenya was quick off the blocks surging to a 6-2 lead prompting coach Ahmed Mohammed to call for an early timeout.
The move did little to suppress the Kenyan onslaught as left attacker Ann Lowem was in her vintage best to inspire Kenya to further lead 8-3.
Egyptian duo of Meawad Nada and Morsy Miriam caused problems for Kenya as the team narrowed the deficit to 10-12.
The in form left attacker Doreen Marani was instrumental as she scored with successive power spikes to stretch Kenya's lead to 21-13.
Egypt hit back to trail 16-23. However, Lowem used her lengthy reach to ensure Kenya's set win of 25-18.
Kenya continued with the positive momentum in the second set by leading 7-5. Poor service by Marani gifted Egypt two successive points en route to a 11-8 lead to the North African side.
Nada was proving a to be a thorn for Kenya's defence as she hit successive spikes and a clever dink to forge her team 12-10 ahead.
A spirited Kenyan side scored four consecutive points after trailing 19-24 but Mariam had the final say as Egypt took the set and tied the game at 1-1.
Water leakages and electricity blackout
The third set saw Egypt lead 8-7 before a 15 minute delay ensued due to water leakages and electricity blackout.
On resumption, Egypt proved too strong as they further led 18-14. Kenya's resurgence was halted when Mariam powered home the final score for the 25-20 set win.
Egypt took the fourth set 18-25 to settle the match.
Coach Mabwi was disappointed with the result and hopes to improve against Senegal.
"Egypt played better than us and they deserved the win. We were careless in our service which let us down. The morale of the team dropped as the match progressed. We will have to win all our remaining matches to stay in contention for the top two positions," she added.
Mabwi said that captain Nafula was rested because she had not recovered from her injury. It is still unknown whether she will play against Senegal.
Egypt coach Mohammed said, "Kenya is a good side and probably one of the strongest in the competition. It is a huge result for us and we are happy with the win. Hopefully we can repeat the feat in the other matches.”
Botswana edge out Senegal
In the other match, Botswana edged out Senegal 3-2 to win their first match of the competition. The victors started strongly taking an early 5-2 lead in the set. Moitmalo Nkobedi was instrumental as they increased their lead to 8-4.
Coach Isaac Thengelani's tactic of using shot blockers Caroline Rodger and Chakalisha Tshiamo paid off as the two combined well to see the team rush ahead to 11-5. Senegal rallied to narrow the gap to 16-19 after numerous unforced errors by Botswana.
The thrilling set was further lit when the Senegal tied the game at 23 points a piece. Botswana sealed it 25-23 to close out the 25 minute set.
The second set was also closely fought as Senegal prevailed 25-22 to tie the game at 1-1.
Senegal took the third set 25-22 before Tshiamo's vicious spike enabled Botswana to tie the game at 2-2 in dramatic fashion after taking the fourth set 25-23.
The fifth and decisive set saw the teams push each other to the limit with Botswana prevailing 15-13.
Results Day two
Senegal 2 Botswana 3 (23-25, 25-22, 25-22, 23-25, 13-15); Kenya 1 Egypt 3 (25-18, 23-25, 20-25, 18-25.
Tuesday: Kenya v Senegal (4 p.m.) Egypt v Rwanda (2 p.m.).