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Poland wins battle against Australia over top sport in Pool F

Poland's Katarzyna Kociolek will also be competing at the FIVB World Championships in Stare Jablonki
Umag, Croatia, June 21, 2013 – In a thrilling three setter against Australia Poland’s Katarzyna Kociolek and Jagoda Gruszczynska ended up as pool winners at the FIVB U21 World Championships on Friday. The direct battle over top position in pool F against Asian U21 champions Mariafe Artacho and Jessyka Ngauamo took 55 minutes: 15-21 25-23 18-16.

There was lots of support for both teams on court number two and they got to see high level beach volleyball with great digs, long rallies and multiple match points on each side. After Artacho and Ngauamo took the first set, the teams were close in the second with Australia getting their first match point at 20-19 and two more at 21-20 and 23-22.

Too save

It looked like Artacho and Ngauamo were too nervous to finish the game. “Yes, maybe it looked like we were playing too save”, Artacho said. “We just could not get the set at the net, it was too far to get a good finish.”

The Polish team took the second set at their second set point and started the tiebreak with a service ace. Again Australia had the opportunity to take the match at 16-15, but it was the Polish who finished it with a strong serve that bounced off Artacho’s arms.

“I think we allowed them to much at the net so they could chip around us. We should have put more pressure on them”, Artacho said. “Now we will just have to play three matches tomorrow.” Kociolek and Gruszscynska earned a bye in the first round as pool winners.

A lottery

“This match was like a lottery”, Kociolek said after the match. “It was a difficult match, they played really well. We made a lot of mistakes in the first set. That was not a good score. After that we had no choice. We just had to play and only winning was an option.”

Eighteen-year old Kociolek, who won the Youth World Championships in 2011 with Baran, will get the opportunity to compete at the FIVB World Championships in her own country in two weeks. She will play with 21-year old Daria Paszek.

Artacho (19) and Ngauamo (17), who already have some World Tour experience, will also attend the World Championships at Stare Jablonki. “We are very fortunate to have the opportunity to play at the World Tour and the World Championships at our age. We have learned a lot this way.”

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