Bitok’s side seeks World Cup tonic

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NAIROBI, Kenya, November 10- The third round of pool fixtures in the ongoing women’s volleyball FIVB World Cup spikes off on Thursday with Kenya fielding against Dominican Republic in Okayama seeking to stem the beating.

Paul Bitok’s African champions are under pressure to deliver their promised first victory in this year’s competition after losing all their five matches so far and they take on a side they took to five sets four years ago before losing 3-2.

“The Dominican Republic have shown that they are one of the best because they have won,” Bitok told the media in Okayama.

“We have tried our best in the first and second rounds to improve and learn from the high-ranked teams we played. I think we have learned a lot from them and we gave them a good challenge.

“I think it’s the first time that we have shown the good teams that we can challenge them. We are playing good and now we also want to win, so we will try our best to see if we can win some matches in this round,” he added.

His opposite number, Marcos Kwiek remarked, “Tomorrow’s (Thursday’s) match pits two teams together that are here to gain experience, even though the Dominican Republic has more experience than Kenya. Essentially, both have the same goals: To get experience and to collect as many points as possible.”

The Dominicans won the two matches they have played against Kenya and must overcome the reception problems that allowed Japan to come from behind.

Kenya battled Korea for one opening set before being trounced in the next two.

Dominican Bethania de la Cruz leads all scorers in the competition with 79 points but was held off at the 15-point mark by the hosts’ defence.

It has been a learning experience for Kenya thus far but against Dominican Republic they have a fair chance to make things happen.

Argentina are next for Bitok’s side on Friday before they wrap their third round engagements against fellow Africans Algeria, the side they beat to the continental title offering the most realistic chance for the much coveted victory.

Germany, top seeds Brazil, European champions Serbia and USA are the other sides who have brushed off Bitok’s girls thus far.

The Germans, USA and Kenya joined Algeria, Argentina and the Dominican Republic from Toyama for the Okayama round of fixtures.

The last time the African queens registered victory at the FIVB showpiece was in 1991 when they topped Egypt.

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