Dawid Konarski spearheaded the 3-1 win of Poland to sweep the first round of the FIVB Volleyball Men's World Cup at Hamamatsu Arena on Sunday
Konarski scored a match-high 22 points, then Marcin Mozdzonek scored six of his 12 points on blocks to lead Poland in the four-setter. Kervin Pinerua and Willner Rivas of Venezuela produced 14 and 13 points, respectively.
Poland and Venezuela were off to a slow start as both sides struggled with errors in the first set. Both squads also had difficulty to get a good first ball up and execute good attack plays that resulted to a tied score at 17-all. Konarski’s block put Poland in front 19-18 but Venezuela snatched the lead 21-20. Poland coach Stephane Antiga addressed this issue by sending in Bartosz Kurek, who delivered an instant point from a left-wing spike. However, Venezuela’s defensive hustle in the last two plays paid off to clinch the first set 27-25.
Poland seized back-to-back sets with 25-23 and 25-16 finishes after a strained performance in the first two sets. In the third set, Poland were not able to perform their best as Venezuela applied pressure on their attackers. Fortunately, Mozdzonek’s blocking worked well in the end to claim the set. Poland finally found a way to rip the gap wide open in the third set as their hitters connected on their attempts from the flanks. In the fourth set, Poland suffered the same problem they had in the first two sets and allowed Venezuela to deadlock at 20-all. Venezuela took the lead briefly but the European side regained their composure and mounted tough blocks on the Venezuelans to gain match point 24-22. Konarski tipped the ball down the line to secure set and match 25-23.