Tokyo, Japan, September 22, 2015 – Japan put up a dogged fight but did not have enough to beat Poland
as the world champions moved to within reach of the FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Cup 2015 title in Tokyo on Tuesday with a 3-1 (24-26, 27-25, 25-21, 25-19) win.
Michal Kubiak was central to pulling Poland back into the game after a woeful start, with Bartosz Kurek topping the score sheet for with 18 points. Pawel Zatorski also held the Japan attack at bay as Yuki Ishikawa led their scorers with 24.
It was a spirited start from the hosts as they went 11-7 ahead thanks to some brilliant defending. Poland caught up when Masahiro Yanagida failed to deal with a Polish serve but it stayed close. A big Dawid Konarski block put Poland ahead on 23-22 but Kunhiro Shimizu floated a wonderful ace over for set point. The home side missed on their first chance but Yuki Ishikawa smashed a spike off the Polish block to claim the opener.
Some inspired volleyball from Japan at the beginning of the second set made sure they took a 7-4 lead early on. Poland were not giving away points easily, with some top level digging keeping them in it, however Japan found themselves in a good flow, siding out consistently to maintain the advantage. Poland fought back though, and found themselves in the driving seat at 20-18. An ace from Yanagida drew Japan even again on 22-all. Poland needed three chances at set point to eventually clinch the frame.
That set win settled Poland and they began to creep ahead at the first technical timeout in the third. Japan kept the pressure on however, staying within touching distance. A serve error from Yanagida and a double block saw Poland eventually take the set.
Kubiak and Zatorski continued to carry Poland in attack and defence respectively in the fourth as the world No.3 built a 14-8 lead. From there it was easy pickings as Poland remained unbeaten.