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FIVB Women's World Championship Japan 2006
Match Description
Unbeaten Poles tame Ticas 3-1

Podolec celebrates a point for Poland

 Tokyo, November 3, 2006: World No. 9 Poland joined surprise package Chinese Taipei on three wins at the top of Pool A by beating minnows Costa Rica 3-1 on Friday afternoon.
 The 33rd-ranked Ticas had the satisfaction of winning their first set on their World Championship debut, but went down 25-17, 20-25, 25-11, 25-14 and dropped to 0-3.
 The Poles towered over Costa Rica, and were able to use their superior height to devastating effect at the net in the early stages.
 They won the first set 25-17 in 18 minutes thanks to a team-high six points from Katarzyna Skowronska, including five spikes. Sylwia Pycia was also a threat at the net, while Anna Podolec added two block points.
 The Central Americans showed plenty of promise in attack, with the Willis sisters, Angela and Verania, scoring eight points between them in the first set. Karen Cope, with a tremendous leap and spike, and Onika Pinnock also troubled the Polish defence, but a block on Ingrid Morales gave the Poles the first set on their second attempt.
 In the second set, the Costa Ricans started strongly, and Poland called a TO when down 4-1. Costa Rica extended their lead to 8-4 at the first TTO as they chased their first set of the tournament after losing 3-0 to both Korea and Japan.
 Milena Rosner helped Poland close the gap, but then found herself blocked superbly by the athletic Cope on the Ticas' right flank.
 The serve of Paola Ramirez led to some poor reception by the Poles, before Kamila Fratczak brought much-needed precision to the Polish play with a couple of graceful winners, notably when she attacked from the back court.
 Soaring high on the left, captain Verania Willis made it 15-12, and more loose play from the Poles gave Costa Rica a four-point advantage at the second TTO.
 Setter Pinnock then caused havoc in the Polish court with a nifty winner into space, and the scoreboard looked confused, too, as at one point it showed Costa Rica ahead by 31-15. The mistake was corrected, and the Poles set about correcting their own inconsistent play.
 But the Ticas' lead, and their motivation, was too big. Pinnock brought them closer to the second set, but they needed their third set point from 24-18 to clinch it 25-20, when Poland captain Joanna Mirek served wide. It was the Ticas' first set on their World Championship debut, and brought warm applause from the audience.
 Clearly stung, Poland set about repairing the damage in the third frame, and jumped out to a five-point lead, 8-3, at the first TTO.
 Trailing 13-7 and with Poland hitting their stride, Costa Rica took a TO to try and break their momentum. With Izabela Belcik orchestrating the attack, the Poles opened up a nine-point lead, 16-7, at the second TTO. The Polish block, notably Skowronska, was beginning to dominate, and Mirek was able to push one over for an easy point as the Ticas tired.
 The Costa Ricans were making far too many unforced errors at this point, easing Poland toward their target, but Verania Willis still managed to slam her way through the imposing wall of blue blockers to stall their progress. At 24-11, a weak serve from Podolec trundled over to give Poland the third set with plenty to spare.
 In the fourth set, Costa Rica produced some spectacular defence to show Poland they were not ready to concede the match, and Cope kept the Poles thinking with a delicate tip over the block.
 But the gulf in class was evident, and Poland powered their way to an eight-point lead at the second TTO. Skowronska was enjoying herself at the net, feeding ravenously off the sets of Belcik, and Maria Liktoras pounded the Poles forward to inevitable victory, 3-1.