BEIJING, 9 August - Cuba came from behind to defeat Poland 3-1 (21-25, 25-17, 25-20, 25-17) at the Capital Gymnasium on Saturday.
The much taller Polish team gave the Cubans a hard time in the first set, displaying solid defence in the back row and at the net, while Malgorzata GLINKA (POL) impressed on the left side of Poland's offence.
The Cubans struggled at the net, committing two net violations, and could not get their attacks going. Poland clinched the first set 25-21 after Agnieszka BEDNAREK (POL) blocked a Rosir CALDERON (CUB) attack.
A fine Cuban comeback began in the second set as Yumilka RUIZ (CUB) and CALDERON managed to find a gap in the Polish block, with RUIZ at the heart of their best attacking play.
The Cubans also improved in defence, covering GLINKA in the front and at the back, as good work from CALDERON gave Cuba the set 25-17.
The third set brought longer rallies as Cuba and Poland exchanged leads. Nancy CARRILLO (CUB) was a key player with several successful attacks in the middle.
A superb back-row attack by GLINKA saw Poland keep in touch with the Cubans at 19-22. Cuba answered with a fine save from RUIZ in the next point and went on to take the third set 25-20 after a CARRILLO quick attack.
CARRILLO continued where she left off as she gave Cuba the first point in the fourth set. The Cubans were capitalising on their strong left-side hitters and kept a comfortable lead throughout the set.
Poland had their moments in attack, mainly through GLINKA, but it wasn't enough. RUIZ scored the last point with a brilliant spike into the Polish front zone to secure the fourth set 25-17.