Poland break through Russian wall to book semifinal spot


Poland celebrate their 3-2 victory and their qualification to the semifinals in Katowice

Lodz, Poland, September 18, 2014 – Poland have qualified to the semifinals in the second set but made it sweeter with a 3-2 (25-22, 25-22, 21-25, 22-25, 15-11) victory over Russia in Pool H of the FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship at the Atlas Arena on Thursday. 

Key Points 

• Poland will move to Katowice for the semifinals, while Russia will stay in Lodz to fight for fifth place with Iran. 

• Poland qualified to the semifinals via their first two-set wins. 

• Poland played it’s fourth consecutive five-setter. 

• Mariusz Wlazly once again lifted Poland to victory, this time with 28 points, while Russia’s Dmitriy Ilinykh scored 22 points on a losing effort. 

The match opened promisingly for the hosts, who took the lead 4-2 from two consecutive aces from Fabian Drzyzga as the Russians suffered with their reception and lack of focus. Poland dominated in every element and maintained their lead throughout the set at 13-9 and 19-14 – pounding on the opponents’ defence. The brightest spot on the Russian side was Ilinykh and his phenomenal services, but Poland quickly found a solution for that as well. In the final stage, the Russians made some run and scored four unanswered points from 22-16 to 22-20, briefly giving Poland a scare. With a bit of help from Muserskiy’s serve at the net, they picked up the set 25-22. 

The second set was the Russians' last chance to stay in contention for the semifinals, so they fought very hard from the beginning. Poland once again were superior over their opponents, especially on the service line and in block. The hosts jumped to an 11-7, but the Russians refused to let them get away too far this time – with Muserskiy finally back to his good form on the service line that levelled the score at 15-all. Russia were first to reach the second technical timeout. Poland quickly bounced back and regained control at 18-17, forcing Russia coach Andrey Voronkov to call a timeout. The break did not help his team to upset the Polish side. Poland took the set 25-22 that officially secured them their spot in the semifinals. 

The third set was played with a lot less pressure and seemed clouded the Polish players’ minds that allowed Russia to gain advantage 8-3 at the first technical timeout. Poland eventually regained their composure by scoring three unanswered points to cut the lead to within one point at 16-15. Russia proved themselves well and dominated the third set 25-21. 

The fourth set started with an impressive rally during which Poland blocked four times, but eventually the ball went out putting the Russians on the lead. Russia jumped to a five-point lead that left Poland in trouble again. Poland coach Stephane Antiga made some substitutions and his team finally scored a series of points to trail Russia 13-11. Michal Kubiak led the phenomenal run of Poland with two spikes and a block, which tied the score at 16-all. The play continued point-by-point for some time, but Muserskiy showed his best skills to make an unstoppable run in the fourth set 25-22, to force tiebreaker. 

The final set brought some fresh energy for the Polish team, who regained focus and quickly jumped ahead to a 4-1 lead. Poland increased their advantage to five points 8-3 and kept the advantage throughout the set. Both teams exchanged a series of points, but Poland had better rhythm and lesser errors that allowed them to close the set and match 15-11.


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