Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Poland grabs first win in FIVB GP finals with 3-1 victory against Japan

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Milena Sadurek (R) of Poland and Ai Yamamoto of Japan compete on the net during the fourth round match at the 2010 FIVB World Grand Prix Final Round women's volleyball tournament in Ningbo, east China's Zhejiang Province, Aug. 28, 2010. Poland beat Japan 3-1.

NINGBO, Zhejiang Province, Aug. 28 -- Poland defeated Japan in four sets here on Saturday to capture their first win in the FIVB World Grand Prix finals.

The Poles, who are making their second appearance in the GP finals, won the match 25-15, 21-25, 25-23, 25-22 for a 1-3 win-loss record in the six-team round-robin tournament.

"I am really happy about winning the match. I am also happy to see that my team played good volleyball today. We are playing in Asia, we are double satisfied with the victory," Poland's head coach Jerzy Matlak said.

Japan started sluggishly in the first set and soon fell behind at 4-0. Although Japan coach Masayoshi Manabe called timeout twice within five minutes, the Asians made little improvement in receiving and setting. After pulling away to 16-7, Poland guarded their lead well and finished the set on a spiking error by Saori Kimura.

"My players were not very focused from the start of the game," said Masayoshi Manabe, head coach of Japan. "Poland did well in serving. That's another reason for our loss."

With star spiker Kimura and Yukiko Ebata hitting better form in attacking, Japan seemingly got on the right track in the second set and held a slight lead of 16-13. When Japan were 24-21 up, Ebata spiked from the left flank to close out the set.

Kimura continued her great form to score 19 points to lead the Japan team, Yukiko Ebata had 14 while Ai Yamamoto 12.

In a close third set, scores were tied more than 10 times. The main weapon in Japan's attacking Kimura spiked consistently for points. But when both sides were locked at 23-23, Poland earned the last two points on blocks to go 2-1 up in sets.

The fourth set was also a close affair. Poland held a slight one point lead from the beginning to 8-7and then the lead changed hand several times. When Japan were 19-18 in front, Anna Baranska scored three points to lead a 5-2 run for Poland to go 23-21 ahead. After each team won a point, Karolina Kosek jumped high to smash the ball in the back court of Japan and seal the victory for Poland.

"It was really difficult for us after yesterday's defeat. I am glad that we won the match. We will face Japan in the opening match of the world championships. So for us, today's victory is really important," said Poland's captain Katarzyna Skowronska-Dolata.


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