Bartosz Kurek had a prolific scoring night as he helped his team to win 3-1 over Russia in the first round of the FIVB Volleyball Men's World Cup at Hamamatsu Arena on Wednesday.
Kurek finished with 25 points to counter Russia’s top scorer Dmitriy Muserskiy, who had 20 points. Poland outscored Russia in attack 53-46, with Rafal Buszek, Mateusz Bienek and Michal Kubiak adding up to the world champions’ firepower.
World Cup 2011 winners Russia and runners-up Poland started the first set with an exhilarating exchange of attacks that kept the scored tied. Poland gained a two-point cushion midway through the set, then extended it with a 24-20 edge. Poland were not able to close the set and on sideout, Alexander Butko’s serve somehow shattered Poland’s reception that allowed them to level the score at 24-all. Russia snatched the lead at 26-25 but Mikhaylov’s spike from the left flank was blocked to instigate another deadlock. Russia prevailed 28-26 from their block and a Polish turnover.
Russia were leading in the second set but Kurek’s heroics helped Poland to gain an 18-15. Russian setter Butko helped his team get back when he tipped the ball to the other side and then followed-up with a block on Kurek at 22-all. Russia reached set point but a reversal of fortune went Poland’s way in the second set 27-25. The Polish side displayed strong determination and kept their rhythm the entire time. Poland took the third set 25-19. Even when they were down in the fourth set, the Polish side patiently executed their plays until they got several breaks that headed to match point, and a final attack that landed on the line for set and match victory 25-22.