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Poland edge Dutch in five sets

Polish Agnieszka Bednarek-Kasza contributed five blocks to her team's victory

Tokyo, Japan, November 13, 2010 - Poland advanced to the play-off for ninth place with a hard-fought five-set victory (24-26, 25-22, 25-22, 19-25, 15-9) over the Netherlands at the 2010 FIVB Women's World Championship at Yoyogi National Stadium on Saturday.

FIVB Women's World Championship Japan 2010 official page

Malgorzata Glinka-Mogentale was one of four Poland players in double figures, finishing with 21 points all but one via spikes. Agnieska Bednarek-Kasza added 15, including five blocks while Anna Werblinska and Karolina Kosek contributed 12 and 11 points respectively. Manon Flier and Ingrid Visser carried most of the offensive load for the defeated Dutch, registering 23 and 21 points respectively. The Netherlands had the edge in the blocking category (17-15) while Poland scored seven aces against four from their opponents.

Poland took charge early on, Milena Sadurek's serve catching the Netherlands flat-footed to start the match and Joanna Kaczor's spike making it 3-1. They went 16-10 in front before the Dutch clawed back two points yet Anna Werblinska's spike then made it 17-12, and her hit from the right wing stemmed another Dutch comeback, keeping Poland ahead at 17-15. Chaine Staelens hit a spike too long from the back after her sister Kim had produced a surprising spike from her setter position.

But Poland surrendered their lead. Maret Grothues's left-handed spinning serve bemused the Poles and the Dutch equalised at 19-all. Sadurek continued to win points on her serve to restore Poland's lead at 22-19 but again the Dutch, despite Chaine Staelens requiring treatment after an awkward fall trying to play Glinka-Mogentale’s tip, restored parity once more at 23-all and they went on to take the set. Kaczor's spike fought off one set point, but the Netherlands prevailed 26-24.

Both teams held the lead in the second set. Kosek’s well-placed tip gave Poland the first point, but Flier’s steady serving made it 3-2 for the Netherlands. Katarzyna Gajgal was whistled for touching the net, and Alice Blom’s wicked topspin serve and Flier’s soaring leap for a spike made it 7-3 for Avital Selinger’s team. However, Poland then roared back to lead 11-9 on the back of some strong blocking and Bednarek-Kasza struck to make it 13-10. Falling behind, the Dutch looked to Flier and she delivered with a crushing hit to narrow the gap to 15-12.

With Poland up at 20-15, Flier and Visser hung in the air to repel an opposition attack, and the latter then sprayed hits to the left and right to bring her team back within two points of the Poles at 21-19. Although Visser’s spike rolled off the net for another Dutch point, Kosek's serving earned Poland some easy points and they won the set 25-22.

In the third set, Flier’s ace gave the Dutch an early 4-1 lead, but Poland's block tied it at 4-4. Unable to hit directly over Berenika Okuniewska in the middle, Flier moved to the right and found room for spikes to turn an 8-6 deficit into a 9-8 lead. Yet Okuniewska wowed the crowd by playing a save off her foot and Kosek's hit gave Poland an 11-10 edge. Flier produced an angled hit to the right but back came Poland as Glinka-Mogentale's blast off Visser's hands made it 15-14.

After Glinka-Mogentale was called for stepping on the line during her serve the Dutch tied it at 16-all and there remained little between the pair as they moved to 22-all, with both sides serving up aces on crucial points. Poland were called up for another net violation, and Caroline Wensink's block gave the Dutch a slight edge at 21-20 but Glinka's thump tied the scores again. With her team 23-22 down, Flier pulled up on a spike, opting for a tip instead but Poland recovered it to earn a set-point which they converted on Okuniewska's slam to win 25-22.

Needing to win the fourth set to stay alive, the Netherlands raced into an 8-2 early lead. Poland charged back to trail by a single point at 10-9 and 12-11, thwarting Flier's attacks. The Dutch were playing with more urgency, though, and moved out in front again at 19-14. Flier's thump to 22-19 snuffed out a Polish rally, and the Dutch squared the match by winning the set 25-19. So to the deciding fifth set. Poland took leads of 6-4, 8-5 and 9-6, Flier's spike earned the Dutch a point, but then Poland stepped up a gear to make it 12-7. Glinka-Mogental's thumps off Dutch hands made it 13-7 and then 14-8, before Werblinksa's spike gave Poland the set 15-9 and the match. 


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