Tokyo, Japan, September 21, 2015 – Poland dealt USA their first defeat of the FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Cup Japan 2015
with a 3-1 (17-25, 25-19, 25-23, 25-15) win to remain unbeaten with a hugely physical display at the Yoyogi Stadium on Monday.
Both teams came into the match knowing that a win would almost guarantee them a place at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games with just two more matches to play in Japan. Michal Kubiak was on devastating form, scoring 17 points and constantly asking questions of the US block.
It was expected to be a battle of the serves, and the match certainly started that way, with both teams hitting big spike serves early on. A Maxwell Holt block on the Polish attack saw USA gain a 6-3 advantage and they maintained that three point lead into the second technical timeout. A superb dig from Matt Anderson following a massive Kurek serve led to an unexpected point as Aaron Russell moved it to 21-16 before an errant spike from Dawid Konarski saw USA take the set.
Poland came alive at the start of the second set, with Kubiak serving two aces to take a 5-4 lead. They found another level, with their attack easing past the United States’ blocking game to sprint to an 11-6 lead. USA regrouped to come to within 22-17 but despite gaining momentum, Poland converted the set 25-19.
Despite losing the previous set USA found themselves in a good rhythm at the start of the third, going up 4-0. Poland completed an amazing run of points however to draw level on 13-all and a terrible error on reception from Sander saw them go into the second technical timeout 16-15 up. A huge block from Anderson brought the advantage to his side but again it switched back to the Poles and they took the set, with Anderson the man gifting them it with a serve error.
Poland were determined to end the match in the fourth and came out firing at 4-0. An ace from David Lee helped USA reel in the Poles, but it didn’t last as the one team that had arguably looked the most consistent at the tournament so far started to crumble. A pair of Mateusz Bieniek aces piled the pressure on the United States as the wheels began to fall off, with two further blocks taking it to 12-4. Poland continued to shut out Anderson, limiting the US offensive game. Poland lost points on their own serve, but a well-functioning side out and two USA serve errors lead to victory for the Poles.