3 wins in 3 matches for Poland after a dramatic 3-2 over Serbia
2012 Olympic Games - European Qualification
Ankara, Turkey, May 4, 2012. Poland achieved its third victory at the 2012 Olympic Games - European Qualification for women, but is still not completely sure of topping Pool II as it lost a point after a dramatic 3:2 (29-27, 25-21, 21-25, 19-25, 15-13) over Serbia. Although Poland had already secured a semifinal spot while Serbia had booked its tickets back home, the two teams played a very interesting game.
Live photo gallery of all matches is running in real time here
The first set was very even and the score was close throughout its duration. With Sanja Starovic in the lineup the Serbian attack was like a scoring machine, but Poland responded with stronger serving and excellent blocking. It was the kill block by Berenika Okuniewska and Izabela Zebrowska that eventually closed the set at 29-27 in Poland’s favor.
Zoran Terzic made some changes in the starting seven for the second set with captain Maja Ognjenovic and Jovana Brakocevic now on the court. However, this did not have the desired effect and Serbia was making more mistakes and its hitting power was way weaker. The Polish players took advantage of this and, despite the fact that the errors on their side also increased, they were able to win at 25-21.
Terzic reversed his decision and started the third set with the same lineup as the first. The attacks of the Serbs were again very prolific and the mistakes were fewer. After the first technical time-out Serbia took control of the game. With Okuniewska playing well in both offense and blocking Poland fought back to almost catch up with the Serbs at 20-21, but this was not enough to completely turn things around in this set.
Things did not change much for in the fourth set. Serbia continued to dominate and started piling up a lead that reached as many as 7 points. Nadja Ninkovic gave Poland a lot of hard time with both her blocks and her spikes and the Southern European eventually tied the match with 25-19 in set 4.
Serbia was close to completely turning the match around as it rushed into the fifth set with a 5-1 lead. However, the girls of Alojzy Swiderek stayed concentrated, stepped up their blocking efforts and gradually caught up in the score. At match point captain and setter Katarzyna Skorupa stroke an ace that closed the match in Poland’s favor.
Sanja Starovic topped the scorers’ chart with 22 points for Serbia while teammate Nadja Ninkovic impressed with 7 kill blocks. Berenika Okuniewska, however, topped that with 8 blocking points for Poland while Anna Werblinska was most prolific for the winners with 20 points (including 4 aces).
”We could have been happier today because we played better than we did in the previous two matches. But, it was not enough to win and now we are going to work more to be successful in Japan”, Ognjenovic said after the game. ”We had some problems with some players, but we played well,” coach Terzic added. ”I believe we will play better in Japan, in order to qualify for the Olympics.”
Despite the win, Skorupa was a bit disappointed about the lost point: ”It seemed to be a crisis day for us. We wanted to get the three points. Now we are waiting for the last match between Russia and the Netherlands.” Coach Swiderek was happy with the result although he agreed that three points would have been better for his team. ”Players and teams have their ups and downs on some days...”