Rosner (left) of Poland spikes against Chen Mei Ching and Kou (TPE)
Tokyo, November 4, 2006: Chinese Taipei's incredible World Championships continued Saturday with a fourth straight win, this time against Poland.
The world No. 23 beat the ninth-ranked Poles 25-19, 25-18, 23-25, 25-23 to improve their win-loss record in Pool A to 4-0 and inflict a first defeat on Poland, who dropped to 3-1.
Chinese Taipei won the first set 25-19 thanks to a team-high eight points from Lin Ching I, who has been enjoying an outstanding World Championships. Lin scored with seven spikes and one block point, and middle blocker Lin Chun Yi contributed four points.
Poland replied with five from wing spiker Milena Rosner and three each from setter Izabela Belcik, captain Joanna Mirek and Kamila Fratczak.
The Poles looked to be getting on top at the start of the second set, but a runaround angled spike from Chen Mei Ching on an overhead set from Wu Hsiao Li and another crisp winner from Lin Ching I on the left flank enabled Taipei to reach the first TTO ahead by one, 8-7.
The 1.93-metre Anna Podolec, who did not appear in the first set, gave the Taipei blockers more to think about, but Lin Chun Yi was able to smother Mirek and bring about her substitution.
Taipei looked much hungrier than the Poles and raced to the second TTO ahead by four, 16-12, and on course for a fourth consecutive victory.
When another well-executed move resulted in a crisp winner from Kou Nai Han, and after a close call went against Poland, the Poles took a TO trailing 18-13. The Asians were much too quick and slick and well organised for the Poles, and extended their lead to 22-13 as the spectators warmed to their fast and attractive volleyball style.
Lin Ching I soared from the back court to find the corner with a perfectly placed spike, and the same player brought up set point at 24-16 with a thundering winner down the left flank.
Podolec, soaring on the right, and Natalia Bamber on the opposite wing delayed the inevitable, before Chinese Taipei closed out the second set 25-18 with another Lin Ching I winner.
There was much more fight and fury about Poland in the third set. The flying back court defence of Rosner saved some certain Taipei points; Sylwia Pycia scored with a monster spike at the net; Podolec was awesome on the block; setter Belcik flipped one over herself; and Bamber rose effortlessly to slice through the Taipei defence.
The Poles accelerated, and alert play at the net by Maria Liktoras took them to the second TTO ahead 16-12.
Podolec kept the Poles out in front, but their blockers could never master the quick and clever Chinese Taipei attackers to ever feel in control. Another slicing winner from Taipei captain Chen Shu Li narrowed the gap to 21-19 and prompted a Poland TO, and Taipei finally pulled level 22-22.
The Polish block regrouped for the third-set finale, though, and came out on top 25-23 on their first set point to take the match into a fourth set.
The steepling sets of Wu provided plenty of ammunition for the Taipei spikers, but Poland libero Mariola Zenik was reading the moves well and controlling her returns perfectly to Belcik. This pattern produced some acrobatic rallies and the teams remained locked together.
A couple of wild spikes from Chinese Taipei, followed by a Podolec thunderbolt, gave the Poles the luxury of a three-point cushion at 13-10 and took the Asians off for a TO.
When Rosner jumped and spiked through the Taipei line, Poland had a five-point lead at the second technical break and did not look in the mood to relinquish it. Incredibly, though, Taipei drew level at 17-17 thanks to some amazing defence and blocking, and then nudged ahead.
Captain Chen Shu Li moved her team nearer at 23-21, but two blocks pulled Poland level 23-23. Kou brought up match point at 24-23, and a block on captain Chen flew wide to end the match.