PUNE, India (Aug. 1, 2009) - Russia rallied from the brink to edge out Poland from contention in an exciting five setter at 32-20, 21-25, 16-25, 25-22, 15-10 in Pool D of the 2009 FIVB Men's Junior World Championship at Pune, India, on the second day of the competition. This was Russia's first win in two matches and Poland has lost both its matches and out of the reckoning for the next round.Alexander Markin, who was brought in as a substitute by the Russian coach, turned the fortunes of the team with 14 points from 20 spikes. Levan Kalandadze and Sergey Burtsev earned 13 nd 11 points in attack. But Russia made 33 errors aginst Poland's 24. Jan Krol was Poland's main spiker with 18 points. Kozlowski collected 10 and Jasinki 10.
Having been defeated by Brazil, Russia was in a desperate situation to qualify and Poland made in very difficult for the former champion in a difficult pool. It was a do or die battle for Russia, which was down by two sets to one and was trailing 15-16 in the fourth set. And the spectators were wondering what was happening to the volleyball giant. It was a pretty bad day for the Russians as Poland, despite playing a tiring five-setter against Canada the other day, fought like a lion.
The whole stadium was reverberating with the shout of 'Polska' 'Polska'. It worked well for Poland as the players blunted the Russian attack and brought more pressure on the team. Under strong pressure Russia was making too many mistakes. Volvich was taken out. Towering Levan Kalandadze was highly erratic. Of course his steep and thunder attacks were too strong for Poland. But Levan was not consistent. Obviously, the hot weather in the stadium was tiring him quickly. He was putting away shots at crucial stages.
Russia did win the first set after a tough neck and neck battle. Despite 26-25 advantage Russia could not finish it off. Poland played a highly spirited game as its coach said later. He was quite happy the Poland boys played their game so tough against tough Russia. However, Poland did not give up the 2-point advantage it had in the second set and won it without allowing Russia to come back. But in the third set Poland was right on top as Jan Krol found too many gaps in the Russian defence to attack. That shook Russia and the team went down to 1-2 set deficit. It was a real nightmare for Russia as the specators began to talk about Russian elimination from the competition.
However, Russia coach one good substitution and that was Alexander Markin, a good back court attacker. He was beating the Poland block superbly in the fourth and fifth sets to bring Russia back into contention. The Russian coach also removed Volvich and depended more on Levan and Sergey. That worked and slowly Poland was on the sliding path.
Russia took complete control in the fifth set with out giving any chance with three or four point lead. At one stage it was even seven point lead.