San Juan, Puerto Rico, June 11, 2011 – Poland relied on its high blocking to score a 3-0 (25-22, 25-15, 25-21) victory over Puerto Rico at Roberto Clemente Coliseum in San Juan on Saturday night.
It was the third victory in Pool A for Poland, who had an overwhelming advantage at the net, outblocking the home side by a wide 16-2 margin. The winners also had a 6-2 advantage in the serve department.
Bartosz Kurek led Poland with 13 points, including four blocks, while Marcin Mozdzonek and Michal Kubiak each contributed 12 points, including five and two blocks, respectively.
Hector Soto was the only Puerto Rico player in double digits with 13 points.
Poland got off to a hot 4-1 start in the first set with a rally capped by a block by Kurek and arrived at the first TTO with an 8-3 lead. They increased the gap to six points with a spike and block by Kubiak. A couple of spikes by Soto reduced the distance to 14-10, only for Bartman and Kurek to respond with two cannon-shots for a 16-10 cushion at the second TTO. Puerto Rico took advantage of Poland’s errors to narrow the difference to three points at 18-15, but Kubiak hit a bomb from the left side and Bartman blocked to restore calm. Poland took the set 25-22 despite late efforts by Soto and Escalante.
In the second set, Poland built a 5-2 lead, prompting a timeout by Puerto Rico. The gap expanded to five points at the first TTO, helped by two blocks by the giant figure of Mozdzonek. Soto’s solid attacks kept Puerto Rico within striking distance, but Poland widened the difference to 14-6 following consecutive blocks by Kurek. The European side arrived at the second TTO with a comfortable 16-7 lead, with their defensive wall higher than ever. Things didn’t change the rest of the set and Mozdzonek capped things off with another block against Soto to clinch the set 25-15.
Puerto Rico had a slight margin (8-7) when a block by Muñiz broke a 7-7 tie. The spikes produced by Soto and Figueroa expanded the difference to 10-8 but Poland equalized at 12-12 behind the spiking of Kubiak and an ace by Kurek. The second TTO found the local team in front 16-15 and Puerto Rico expanded this to 18-15 with an ace by setter Perez following an opposition error. Kubiak and Kurek combined to shorten the distance to 19-18, forcing Puerto Rico to call a timeout. A block by Kosok tied the score and Kubiak followed with an ace for a one-point lead. Once again Mozdzonek closed the action out, this time with a spike down the middle.