USA became the first team to blast past hosts Poland in an exciting game
Lodz, Poland, September 10, 2014 - In front of a great crowd in Atlas Arena, host team Poland suffered their first loss of the competition, against a consistent USA team which celebrated in an extremely close 3-1 (29-27, 25-22, 25-27, 25-23).
• Poland lost their perfect record as they arrived to the game having earned every possible point so far.
• Both teams have one World Champs gold medal - Poland was crowned in 1974 and USA did as well in 1986.
• In the same year they grabbed that title, USA achieved their only previous win over Poland in the competition, in straight sets.
• However, after their sixth battle at the tournament, Poland still lead over USA by 4-2.
Taylor Sander and Matthew Anderson formed again a tremendous duo as they drilled 23 and 21 points respectively, while Maxwell Holt supported them with 15 of his own. On Poland, Mariusz Wlazly was the most active scorer with 17 shots, backed up by Michal Winiarski who contributed with 14.
A good service sequence from Holt strengthened USA and Anderson smashed a great counterattack at 13-10. That three-point gap persisted with Anderson in top form (9 points in first set), but Poland reacted a while later. Winiarski pressured with his serves and Michal Kubiak joined from the front positions, to create a thrilling closure (24-24). However, two consecutive errors made the local efforts useless as USA clinched the set 29-27.
Both teams fought in defence as the second set went on really tight. Even though USA had a higher error rate, a sharp ace by setter Micah Christenson - confirmed by video challenge, gave shape to a 16-14 for the away team. Middle-blockers took the stage for both teams as the game remained close, but with USA always in control. Sander and Holt attacked the way for the American side and Lee hammered the 25-22.
However, Poland rebounded and this time was able to seize some American mistakes, for an 11-8 board, and afterwards the home squad nailed several diagonal spikes to advance to 16-13. The 2nd TTO sparked USA back to life and Sander nailed an ace in the sideline to push his side in front (17-16), but Poland was decided to not give up. USA leveled the game once again at 23-23 with Lotman’s clever serves, but the hosts kept control in another nail-biting finish. Marcin Mozdzonek took the floor twice and spiked for a hard-fought 27-25.
Mozdzonek delighted the crowd with a superb block over Lee as Poland jumped ahead also in the fourth set. USA answered with Anderson at the helm and built a 14-12 lead, but serves from Winiarski and Karol Klos gave a headache to the American passing line and Poland climbed back to 16-15. The match entered a point-by-point basis that was nearly untouchable towards the end. Sander held the attack, Christenson created the gap at 24-21 and, after a final struggle from Poland, Anderson materialised the 25-23.