San Juan, Puerto Rico, June 10, 2011 – Poland scored a convincing 3-0 (25-21, 25-23, 25-14) victory over Puerto Rico in Pool A of the FIVB Volleyball World League on Friday.
The European champions established a clear superiority at the net as they out-blocked the home side 10-1.
Zbigniew Bartman and Bartosz Kurek scored 15 and 13 points, respectively, for Poland while Piotr Nowakoski added eight tallies.
Jose Rivera led Puerto Rico with 11 points and Hector Soto and Victor Rivera charted 10 and 9, respectively.
Poland jumped to an 8-5 lead in the first set behind the powerful attacks of Kurek while V. Rivera and Soto kept Puerto Rico close. Mozdzonek and Bartman combined on a kill and block to expand the Europeans' lead to 14-9 forcing a Puerto Rico timeout. Poland was in front 16-12 at the second TTO before J. Rivera scored with kill and serve around a spike by V. Rivera to cut the lead to 18-17, when Poland called for a timeout. When the action resumed Poland recovered via a spike from Nowakowski and block by Zygadlo. The rest of the way, Bartman showed his scoring tools and Poland won 25-21.
In the second set, Puerto Rico had an early 3-1 lead thanks to a block and ace by V. Rivera and J. Rivera only to see Poland in front at 8-6 with Bartman and Kurek leading the comeback. Ruciak and Muñiz exchanged explosive attacks and setter Angel Perez’s ace reduced the gap to 10-9. The second TTO found Poland leading 16-14 and consecutive blocks by Nowakowski and Mozdzonek expanded the gap to 20-16. Puerto Rico came back on the shoulders of Figueroa and Soto and narrowed the gap to one point, but Ruciak closed up shop for Poland, who prevailed 25-23.
Poland led from start to finish in the third set. The duo of Bartman and Kurek sent Poland to an 8-3 lead. An ace by Ruciak increased the distance to 14-7 and the visiting squad arrived at the second TTO with a commanding 16-9 lead. Bartman was in high gear at the end and Poland cruised to a 25-14 finish.