Kielce, Poland, 31 July, 2009: In the opening game of the FIVB World Grand Prix Tournament in Kielce Thailand defeated hosts Poland after dramatic tie –break 2-3 (25-12, 23-25, 22-25, 25-19, 13- 15).
Once again Polish players showed that somehow they are unable to win the WGP game in occasion of the tournaments organized in Poland. In the previous years in Bydgoszcz (2006), Rzeszow (2007) and Wroclaw (2008) Poles haven’t won any game and this negative record continues in Kielce. At least after the first game.
Onuma Sittirak was chosen as the MVP of the match (she scored 19 points). Pleumjit Thinkaow added 19 points while Agnieszka Bednarek scored also 19 points for Poland.
At the beginning of the game Polish players were very concentrated and quickly took the lead (4-0) thanks to the good play in attack (especially Joanna Kaczor and Dorota Swieniewicz). After couple of excellent actions in defense and efficient counter-attacks Thai girls managed to reduce the difference (5-4). However Poland was leading 8-5 on the first technical time-out. Although Thailand played ambitiously in defense and dig a lot of balls they couldn’t capitalize it in attack and Poland jumped out to 6 points (13-7). It was 16-9 for the Poles on the second TTO. Then Thai players started to make more and more mistakes in attack and reception (20-9). Poland dominated until the end of the set which ultimately ended 25-12 for hosts team. The biggest difference between the competing team was in service (6-1).
The second set Poles started impressively (6-0) as Thai players had huge problems in reception and committed a lot of errors in attack. However, Thailand surprisingly scored 5 points in a row (thanks to the stronger service and efficient counter-attacks) and the scoreboard was 6-5. The game started to be more competitive (7-7). After three bad receptions of Polish captain – Dorota Swieniewicz Thailand took the first lead in the game (9-10). Polish team head coach - Jerzy Matlak decided to put the setter Izabela Belcik instead of Milena Sadurek. At that stage of the game Thai girls played better in reception, defense, attack (most of the time using Polish block) and jumped out to 11-16. After two aces by Pleumjit Thinkaow and counter-attack by Kanthong Malika the advantage increased up to 8 points (11-19) and extremely nervous Jerzy Matlak asked for time out. Polish girls managed to improve their game thanks to the excellent service of Izabela Belcik (17-20). When Agnieszka Bednarek made an ace Poland was loosing only 2 points (21-23). Then Polish opposite – Joanna Kaczor scored two very important points in attack and the score was evened (23-23). However it was Thailand which finally won the second set (23-25) mainly thanks to the stronger service and better efficiency in attack.
The victory in the second set gave the Thailand team more confidence. They started the third set well motivated and maintained the lead (5-8). Thanks to an ace by Katarzyna Gajgal and successful counter-attack by Dorota Swieniewicz Poles leveled the score (9-9). However, the Thai players didn’t let Poland to jump out (13-13). Due to the easy mistakes committed by Thailand Poles gained 3 point’s advantage on the second TTO (16-13). When Thai girls managed to reduce the difference (20-19) Jerzy Matlak asked for the time out. However Thailand executed the counter - attack and evened the score (20-20). The end of the set was very dramatic. When Pleumjit Thinkaow scored the very important point from the middle of the net Thailand regained the lead (21-22). After two efficient attacks presented by Apinyapong Wilaven and mistake in reception made by Dorota Swieniewicz Thailand surprisingly won the set 22-25 and took the lead in a whole game.
In the fourth set Thailand continued to play excellent in defense digging almost every Polish spikers attacks. However, Poles were leading on the first TTO (8-5) thanks to the bigger patience in attack and impressive block made by Katarzyna Gajgal. When Polish team’s advantage increased up to 5 points (10-5) Thailand team head coach asked for time out but Poles were still unstoppable (12-5). Thanks to the good service and some impressive actions from the middle of the net (especially by Agnieszka Bednarek) Poland maintained the lead (16-8) but when the scoreboard was 20-11 Thailand gained 4 points in a row (20-15) thanks to the stronger service. However, this time Polish girls didn’t let their rivals to tie the score (22-15, 24-17) and first tie-break in Kielce was secured (25-19).
The tie-break has started better for Thailand which took 3 point’s advantage (0-3) and nervous Jerzy Matlak immediately asked for the time out. Thanks to the powerful kills of Joanna Kaczor Poland managed to improve the score (3-4). When Onuma Sittirak hit the ball out Polish team regained the lead (6-5). The game was very tough (8-8, 10-9). Poles played good in block but couldn’t finish the attacks (11-11). Due to bad reception and mistakes in attack committed by Polish players Thailand took the lead (11-14). Poland managed to reduce the difference (13-14) but Malika Kanthong finished the match point (13-15) and Thailand surprisingly defeated the favourite Poles.