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Serbia leave Poles on wrong end of another fightback

Serbia's Brizitka Molnar tries to get the better of the Poland defence (right)

Tokyo, Japan, October 28, 2010 - Serbia continued their magnificent start to the FIVB Women's World Championship Japan 2010 with a hard-fought 3-1 (19-25, 27-25, 26-24, 25-22) win over Poland in Tokyo on Saturday.

The bronze medallists from four years ago, ranked ninth in the world, have been in superb form in registering two wins in as many matches. As for Poland, the world No.8, this was their second defeat on the back of a marathon loss against Japan on Friday. Serbia captain Jelena Nikolic led her team's scoring with 19 points, while Anna Werblinska was Poland’s top scorer for the second straight day with 17.

FIVB Women's World Championship Japan 2010 official page

Serbia started brightly with four points from Milena Rasic and three straight aces from Brizitka Molnar, giving them an 8-4 edge but Poland got back into the game thanks to two errant spikes by Jovana Brakocevic. Poland's Malgorzata Glinka-Mogentale delivered a spike to draw her team closer at 14-12 and after another misplaced attack by Brakocevic, Serbia coach Zoran Terzic withdrew her for a spell on the sidelines. A determined Poland pulled ahead 19-16 through spikes by Aleksandra Jagielo and Glinka-Mogentale, and the former went on to finish the set with a spike for 25-19.

Serbia responded by taking an early lead in the second set, but some great blocking by Poland's Joanna Kaczor kept her team in it at 8-6. There was a delay at 17-17 as referees and captains discussed a disputed substitution, and when the action resumed it was Serbia who responded better, gaining the upper hand with a Rasic attack that secured a set-point at 24-22. An ace by Nikolic eventually snatched the set 27-25.

The third set opened tentatively, with Serbia gaining a narrow advantage through a pair of Sanja Malagurski thunderbolts. A Krsmanovic block on a Polish spike gave her side an 8-5 lead at the First Technical Timeout (FTT). Jerzy Matlak's side replied as Werblinska put a block on Malagurski to tie the scores at 14 and Kazcor then dropped a pair of aces to make it up 16-14. Serbia did not let their opponents walk away with the set, Krsmanovic tying the scores again with a kill at 21-21, but eventually spikes by Malagurski and Nikolic gave Serbia the set 26-24.

There was an even start to the fourth set but Nikolic's attacking combined with Molnar's serving put Serbia 15-11 in front by the middle phase. Serbia's blockers did a great job shutting down Werblinska at the net as their lead grew to 19-14. A Serbian victory was now inevitable and a wonderful dig by Majstorovic on Poland's Kosek set up Malagurski for the spike to take the set 25-22 and with it, the match.

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