Poland's Bartosz Kurek, Andrzej Wrona and Meteusz Mika (left to right) at the net in their opening World League match against Russia
Gdansk, Poland, May 28, 2015 – In the first big clash of the 2015 FIVB World League, it was reigning world champions Poland who took full advantage of their home surroundings at the Ergo Arena to beat Olympic champions Russia 3-0 (25-16, 25-17, 25-20).
Poland was ready from the first whistle and with great hitting from Mateusz Mika and blocking from Mateusz Bieniek, took the lead in the first set. Powerful play by Sergey Savin was not enough to help the number of unforced errors from Russia and Poland entered the second set with the upper hand.
Poland again edged ahead in the second thanks in part, to impressive all-round play from Bartosz Kurek. By the midway point, the Polish team had established a five-point lead as Russia struggled to gain any serving momentum, failing to claim a single serve point in the entire match. Mika continued to penetrate Russia’s blocks, earning eight points for Poland in the first two sets and the team continued confidently towards the third.
The third set prompted changes within the Russian line-up with Igor Kolodinsky and Pavel Moroz arriving on court and captain Andrey Aschev replaced by Artem Smoliar. Moroz produced some smart play at the net and the mix-up within the Russian team brought them within one point of their competitors. But Poland remained out of reach and powered on to a convincing three set victory with Bieniek earning most valuable player of the match.
Follow the match text commentary here