Poland hoping to turn around fortunes in Plock
Plock, Poland, August 7, 2013 – Poland will be aiming to record their first win of the FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix when they host Germany, Kazakhstan and Japan in Plock starting on Friday.
The world No. 15 lost all three matches in a tough group on the opening weekend in Campinas, Brazil to the hosts, USA and in five sets to Russia and now captain Katarzyna Skowronska-Dolata, who scored a World Grand Prix record 41 points in the Russia defeat, is hoping that her side can open their win account on home soil.
“We played better day by day (in Brazil), so I think we are still able to find our rhythm in Poland,” Skowronska-Dolata said ahead of the opening Group H matches which sees Germany play Japan and Poland entertain Kazakhstan on Friday at 15:30 (GMT) and 18:00 (GMT) respectively.
The previous years when Poland lost their first three matches was in 2006, 2007 and 2008 and in these seasons, they only went on to reach the Finals in 2007. In total, Poland have lost their last four World Grand Prix matches. They can lose five in a row for the first time since 2008, when they equaled their record losing streak of eight, previously set in 2006.
Despite the grueling travel schedule which saw Poland on the move for 35 hours from Brazil to Poland, Skowronska-Dolata is optimistic of better results in Plock.
“We faced the best teams in the world and we come back to Poland standing tall,” Skowrosnka-Dolata, who after her record-scoring exploits sits second on the list of the FIVB World Grand Prix best scorers with 68 points behind China’s Zhu Ting who recorded 69 in the opening three matches, said. “This is all behind us and the next matches are in front of us. Obviously, we cannot be satisfied with our performances and we are angry without any reasons to be happy, though, we are trying to build this team together with our coach and our game looks better every day. Maybe this is the small reason to smile.”
Olympic bronze medalists Japan are one of five unbeaten sides in the competition after week one along with China, Italy, Serbia and Brazil while Germany and Kazakhstan will face off again having played in Italy last weekend in Pool E. Then Germany won 3-1 over the team lead by Oleksandr Gutor, but no one should disregard world No. 23 Kazakhstan who won their first set ever against Germany and went down in five sets to Argentina in Italy whilst also having the third best middle-blocker Olga Nassedkina and fourth best scorer Tatyana Mudritskaya of the tournament so far.
Friday’s opening matches sees Japan – who beat Turkey, Thailand and Algeria in week one - take a 10:6 lead into their World Grand Prix head-to-head contests with Germany, although the world No. 8 – who lost to Italy and Argentina in the first week - won their last World Grand Prix match against Japan (3-1 in the 2012 preliminary round) and can win consecutive matches against Japan, ranked third in the world, for only the second time in their history. They previously did so in 2003-04.
Poland will hoping to improve their World Grand Prix home record when they play Kazakhstan, who they have beaten in each of their three previous encounters, having lost their last two matches in their home country. In the 2012 preliminary round, Italy (3-1) and Brazil (3-2) proved too strong in Lódz after Poland initially won its first match against Serbia (3-2).
Poland have won both previous World Grand Prix matches against Kazakhstan, with the latter only winning one set. The two teams also met in the 2008 Olympic qualification tournament where Poland beat Kazakhstan in straight sets.