Poland to challenge Belgium for top spot in Pool K
2014 FIVB Volleyball World Championship - Women
Lodz, Poland, January 4, 2014. On Saturday, the second day of the tournament at the Atlas Arena in Lodz, Belgium crashed Switzerland 3:0 (25-11, 25-16, and 25-12) to keep an immaculate record in the competition. A few hours later the hosts of Poland did the same with Spain (25-13, 25-12, and 25-18). With these results the Poles and the Belgians are set to go for a big match on Sunday for first place in Pool K whose winners will make sure they qualify to the Final Round of the 2014 FIVB Women’s World Championship.
To open the second day of the World Champs qualifier in Lodz Belgium crashed Switzerland 3:0 (25-11, 25-16, and 25-12) to keep an immaculate record in the Pool.
As the favorites of the match, Belgium started off with power and quickly jumped ahead 5:1 and could lead 8:2 at the first technical time-out. The advantage remained on the Belgian side and nothing could stop them from taking the first set 25-11.
The second set was more balanced with the score staying close – at least until the first mandatory stop, after which Belgium scored four unanswered points. The 2013 European bronze medalists took control over the game and refused to let the rivals spread their wings. Belgium picked up the set at 25-16 after a series of points scored with the help of great serves by their setter Frauke Dirickx.
In set three the Belgian truly showed their superiority over the opponents as they were leading 8:1 at the first technical time-out. The Swiss looked helpless, Belgium jumped out to a huge advantage at 16:2, then 18:3. The remainder of the set was just a formality and Belgium cashed it at 25-12 for the final 3:0.
“We are disappointed. It was our worst game against Belgium so far. They served very well, they made very few mistakes and set the block well against us,” said Switzerland head coach Timothy Lippuner.
Belgium head coach Gert Vande Broek: “This was the third time we played against each other. We learned a lot from the previous matches and this is what we did during preparations – we looked at the strategy and changed it. Our game is improving and this is very important. We still have to improve a lot before the game against Poland tomorrow. And the question is whether we will be good enough to beat them.”
In the second match of the day the white-and-red home heroines of Poland took on Spain. After a small misunderstanding and a delay in play at the beginning of the opening set, the Poles came on top at the first technical time-out (8:5). They gradually increased the advantage and romped into victory 25-13. The second set was a display of Poland’s domination: they were leading 8:2 at the first mandatory stop and 16:7 at the second one. The hosts controlled every aspect of the game and took their chance to quickly finish the set 25-12. Poland carried the momentum from the previous set and once again took the lead at 8:4 also in the third one. Nevertheless, Spain did not lose faith and fought very hard to keep up with their opponents. They did not let Poland get away any further, but at the same time were unable to level the score. At the end of the day the Poles won the set 25-18 and the match 3-0.
“This match required a lot of focus from us,” said Malgorzata Glinka-Mogentale, Poland captain, after the game. “This is the same focus that we lost for a while in the third set. Maybe our heads were already in tomorrow’s game.”
“The Poles served and blocked very well and because of that we had troubles with our attack in the first two sets,” commented Spain head coach Pascual Saurin.
On Sunday Spain will play Switzerland and Poland will challenge Belgium for victory in the tournament and qualification to the Final Round of the 2014 FIVB Women’s World Championship in Italy.
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