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Argentina overcame Kenya with good blocking and less mistakes

Okayama, Japan, November 12, 2011 – Argentina had to overcome an early scare before overcoming Kenya 3-0 (26-24, 25-13, 25-16) in the FIVB World Cup at Momotaro Arena in Okayama on Saturday. Lucia Fresco was the top scorer for Argentina with 21 points and collected the Most Impressive Player award. She was the only Argentine player to reach double figures. Lydia Maiyo was top scorer for Kenya with 13 points while Moim Mercy had 11. Argentina out blocked Kenya 8-5. Kenya committed 25 errors to Argentina's 14.

The match started with long hits by Paula Yamila Nizetich and Emilce Sosa, while the Kenya team started brightly, with Lydia Maiyo sending down a couple of winning hits as her team streaked to a 6-2 lead. But four quick errors by the Kenyans allowed Argentina back into the game and the South Americans went on 10-point run. They led by three points at the second technical timeout but poor serving let Kenya stay close and the African champions drew level at 19 on a spike by Moim Mercy. Another good hit by Mercy gave Kenya a two-point lead at 22-20, but two big smacks by Leticia Boscacci brought the teams level again. Moim saved one Argentina set point before a wide shot by Everlyne Makuto handed them another one. Sosa put Argentina 1-0 up on a slick short spike down the middle.

Kenya struggled to get into the second set while the Argentines got into their rhythm behind good serving from Antonela Ayelen Curatola and Nizetich. A block by Sosa on Maiyo put Argentina six points ahead at the first TTO and they were 10 ahead at the second after some good hitting by Boscacci. Lucia Fresco scored three points in the final stretch, but it was a thumping shot by Sosa that brought up set point. A block by Florencia Natasha Busquets on Esther Wangeshi then put Argentina 2-0 up.

A service ace by Curatola put Argentina 3-0 ahead, but Kenya was fighting hard to try and stay in the match. Maiyo landed a pair of shots, but then sent one long. Makuto sent two wide but landed one. Argentina got more good service from Fresco as they eased into an 8-5 lead at the first TTO. Maiyo, Makuto and Mercy continued to lead the Kenya attack but they suffered from inaccuracy, while Argentina was more stable as they crept towards victory. Fresco brought up match point with another towering hit and Kenya then failed to return a serve by Curatola.

Press Conference:

Argentina coach Horacio Bastit: I’m relatively satisfied because we ended up playing very well, but the start wasn’t so good. Because of the way we play, because our attack is not so strong, we can’t afford to give away many points on unforced errors. So we have to reduce the number of errors we make. In the first set, we didn’t do that, but in the second and third sets the team served better and almost made no mistakes.

(Re: Dominican Republic win over Germany): We were really happy about the Dominican Republic win because we have played them many times and have a good relationship with the team and the players. Also, with Brazil losing today if other teams in contention get fewer points, Brazil can qualify for the Olympics directly which would remove a big hurdle for us in South American qualifying.

Argentina captain Emilce Sosa: I’m very happy with the win. We were much better because we made fewer mistakes. I couldn’t play yesterday because of an injury, so I was happy to play today.

(Re: Germany match): I think it’s going to be a tough match and we must play 100 per cent like the Dominican Republic did today. We know we have to be at our best in order to win.

Argentina No. 5 Lucia Fresco: I’m happy with the win. We started a bit slow but then we played more calmly and this led to our win.

Kenya coach Paul Bitok: At the moment, my team are not playing so good. We are losing focus and I’m afraid for the next matches. Things aren’t easy because the team has lost its focus. Sometimes we are strong but we don’t finish due to a lack of concentration.

Kenya captain Brackcides Khadambi: I want to congratulate Argentina for their win today. Today, in the first set we really tried to play well but in the second and third sets we relaxed and made a lot of mistakes and that is why Argentina were able to win.

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