SMARZEK POWERS POLAND TO UPSET WIN OVER CHINA
Macao, China, May 22, 2018 – Malwina Smarzek added a further 35 points to her collection while Poland upset China 3-2 (18-25, 25-17, 25-18, 22-25, 15-12) in front of a stunned home crowd as lit up the southern Chinese city of Macao on Tuesday night.
The 21-year-old opposite spiker has now amassed 100 for the tournament and the Chinese had no answer for her power as Polish coach Jacek Nawrocki made some clever rotations, set around the superb all-round court coverage of libero Agata Witkowska.
For China it was teenaged star Li Yingying who gave fans a look at the future.The 18-year-old Li has the whole volleyball world watching and duly delivered with 19 points in China’s losing effort.
But not much else went the way of the 2016 Rio gold medalists with Poland rising to the big occasion in front of China’s vocal home fans.
As hosts, China are assured of a place in the VNL finals and coach Lang Ping has taken the opportunity to give court time to her younger players. It has had mixed results – as a first-round upset loss to South Korea (3-0) was matched by the Polish on Tuesday night.
Poland were quick to pounce on a number of crucial mistakes in the middle sets – Smarzek in particular – as coach Lang mixed and matched her line-up.
A record of 2-2 doesn’t fully reflect Poland’s form, given they took a set off world champions the USA in the first-round before losing 3-1 and ground out a gutsy 3-2 win over Italy. But coach Jacek Nawrocki and his charges didnlt seem to care too much as they celebrated their upset.
The big question now is just how quickly China can come up with a line-up that’s settled enough to tackle the form teams of the VNL.
Poland captain Agnieszka Kakolewska said: “I am very happy and very proud to win this match. Playing against strong opponents like China is always difficult, and to be able to win is a reward for our effort. We fight for every point in every match regardless of the opponent, and obviously we do not always have the opportunity to play against elite national teams, so we are very happy with this win.”
China coach Lang Ping said: “The match is a good lesson for our team. In terms of meshing young and senior players, we can see from this match that there is much work to be done. There are also issues with our reception. We as a team are going to work on this issue.”
China captain Liu Xiaotong said: “The Poland players gave us a lot of problems with their serves and our reception was inconsistent, which also affected other parts of our game. Despite the problems, our players tried very hard and never gave up, and now we are looking to make adjustments for our next game.”
Related links of AVC
AVC Website: click www.asianvolleyball.net
AVC Facebook: click www.Facebook.com/AsianVolleyballConfederation
AVC Twitter: click: https://twitter.com/avcvolley
AVC Instagram: click: https://www.instagram.com/avcvolley/?hl=en
AVC Youtube: click: Asian Volleyball Confederati