Tokyo, Japan, June 1, 2016 – Poland defeated China 3-2 (26-28, 20-25, 25-16, 25-16, 15-10) to remain undefeated at the Men’s World Olympic Qualification Tournament at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium on Wednesday.
Poland’s Bartosz Kurek notched 22 points, including 19 spikes, one block and two service aces to lead all scorers, while Zhang Chen tallied 17 points for China. Kurek had support from team-mates Michal Kubiak, Marcin Mozdzonek and Mateusz Mika. Kubiak contributed 15 points, while Mozdzonek and Mika had 12 points each.
China had a flying start as they stunned Poland in the first two sets. Poland struggled with their plays in the opening set, while China setter Li Runming easily connected with his hitters to put up a 5-1 lead. Poland started to get hot and reduced their opponents’ lead to just one. After the deadlock at 20-all, the next plays became a race between the two squads. China got the better end of the extended set from Dai Qingyao’s ace and Karol Klos’ attack blunder to secure the set win 28-26. China played excellent defence on Poland but another race ensued when both teams reached deadlock at 18-all. Chinese attackers converted their attempts, while Poland struggled on their offence that resulted in a 25-20 victory for China in the second set.
Poland completely overturned the situation in the succeeding sets with a convincing win in the third set at 25-16 and in the fourth set at 25-17. Poland played at a deliberate pace, as Kurek forced his way to penetrate the Chinese defence. Kurek’s inspiring performance in the third and fourth sets got his side back in the game. Poland maintained their momentum and led consistently in the tie-breaker. Kurek starred in the final plays that gave Poland enough room to reach match point, until a Polish block sealed set and match 15-10.