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Poland pick up win on last day in Zielona Gora

Poland Katarzyna Konieczna's aces and powerful spikes helped her team beat Cuba on Sunday

Zielona Gora, Poland, August 14, 2011 – On the last day of the second weekend of 2011 FIVB World Grand Prix in Zielona Gora, hosts Poland beat Cuba 3-1 (25-15, 25-21, 23-25, 25-20) in front of a huge crowd adorned in white-and-red.

Cuba's Kenia Carcaces Opon topped all scorers with 20 points, while Katarzyna Konieczna of Poland led the scorers for the hosts with 15 points.

2011 FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix
August 5-28

Before this match, Poland was second in Pool E with three points, while Cuba were in last with two.

Set one started well for the hosts who quickly gained a two-point-lead (4-2), which they later extended to four points (8-4 at the first TTO). With powerful spikes (more than 60 per cent efficiency) and blocks, the Poles maintained the advantage, while on the Cuban side there was a lot of miscommunication, aiding their downfall. Cuba coach Juan Gala Rodriguez called a timeout at 18-11, but it did not help his team as the hosts continued to dominate on the court, picking up the set and the early lead.

The second set was tight from the beginning but the Poles took the lead at 7-5 with Katarzyna Konieczna's ace. However, after the first TTO, Cuba tied the score at 9-9 and a moment later took the lead. Nevertheless, Poland coach Alojzy Swiderek made a double-change and the hosts caught up with another service ace (11-11). The play continued on a point-by-point basis before Poland jumped ahead to 20-17 thanks to great performance from middle-blocker Berenika Okuniewska. They extended the advantage to four points and took the set 25-21, settling the overall score at 2-0.

Both teams started the third set very determined – Poland to end the match as soon as possible, and Cuba to continue the fight. The score stayed very close throughout, with a narrow advantage on the Cuban side (14-13, then 16-14). They extended the lead and coach Alojzy Swiderek made a double-change. The Cubans wasted five set balls but eventually won the set 25-23.

The Poles carried their momentum from the end of the previous set (where they scored five unanswered points) and started set four by jumping out to a 6-3 lead. Cuba managed to level the score at 7-7 and were the ones ahead at the first TTO. The Poles retook control over when coach Alojzy Swiderek changed setters as they scored four points in a row. Even after Cuba scored a series of points to tie at 11-11 the hosts were still ahead, committing less errors. They gained a four-point-advantage at the second TTO and maintained it throughout. They finished the set with Berenika Okuniewska's powerful spike, picking up a vital win.

With the victory Poland moved to the first place in Pool E, while Cuba prop up the group.


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