Bydgoszcz, Poland, July 16, 2009 – Poland beat Finland in a thrilling five-setter in the last match for both teams in the 2009 FIVB World League Intercontinental Round. After Wednesday’s loss, more than 6200 fans saw their team winning 3-2 (29-27, 20-25, 25-16, 22-25, 15-9) in Luczniczka Hall in Bydgoszcz. The victory improved Poland’s win-loss record to 5-7, but the Poles stayed third in the pool D. Finland is now 7-5.
Mikko Oivanen of Finland led all scorers with 19 points. Marcel Gromadowski led Poland with 17 points.
The MVP award was given to Bartosz Kurek.
Both teams started the match a little bit unsettled. There were many serving faults at both ends of the floor, but Poland used their block to reach the first technical timeout leading 8-6. Powerful spikes from the opposite Marcel Gromadowski let Poland enjoy a two point advantage at the second technical timeout (16-14). Neither Poland nor Finland couldn’t find the rhythm in the serving area, but thanks to effective counter-attacks the Finns took a one point lead 20-19. Finland didn’t score on the two set points and some phenomenal plays of Zbigniew Bartman, who replaced Gromadowski, gave Poland a lead. Gromadowski returned on the floor and his two final plays were crucial. Thanks to his killing spike and a block Poland took the first set 29-27.
Finland got better start to the second set and led 8-5 at the first technical timeout. After the break the gap increased to five points (10-5) and Polish coach Daniel Castellani called a timeout. Poor reception and simple mistakes on the home side gave Finland 16-10 lead at the second TTO. Although Poland never gave up, it could not stop the visitors. They clinched the second set 25-20 after Bartman spiked out.
In the third partial, Finland held a slim lead at the first technical timeout (8-7). Poland, playing with great energy, managed to win four points in a row. The home team clearly was on fire now. Fantastic digging and killing blocks gave Poland a 16-11 lead at the second technical timeout. Finland’s attacks couldn’t drill through the Polish block. Finnish coach Mauro Berruto brought out the whole starting six and inspired home team demolished their rival 25-16.
Finland came out strong in the fourth set and led 8-5 at the first technical timeout. Poland came back and tied the score at 11-11, but the Finns stroke back and led 16-13 at the second technical timeout. Poland drew level again at 16-16. In the final part of the set, Finland showed their maturity. The visitors used their chances in counter-attacks and took the partial 25-22. The bad news for the Finns was an injury of Olli Kunnari, who sprained his ankle in the penultimate play of the set.
In the best possible moment, Poland found the serving rhythm and led 8-4 at the first technical timeout of the tie-break. Home team did not let Finland back in the set. Receiving errors on the Finnish side were too many. The hosts made sure their fans didn’t go home disappointed, winning the set 15-9 and the whole match 3-2.