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FIVB Women's World Cup 2007
 
Match Description
 
Cubans edge Poles in five set thriller
 

The Cuban players celebrate their victory over Poland.
Sendai, Japan, November 6, 2007 -- Five-set "specialists" Cuba continued to go the long haul on Tuesday with a hard-fought 21-25, 26-24, 22-25, 25-21, 15-13 victory over Poland.
There was little to choose between the two teams in the opening exchanges. Neither was on top of their game and the Poles were just a point ahead at the first technical timeout. Nancy Carrillo tried to bring the Cubans back into the game, but a couple of Cuban errors allowed Poland to extend their lead to three points at the second TTO. Receiving errors by Cuba stretched that to five points at 20-15, but a long serve by Poland's Milena Sadurek opened the door for Cuba, and spikes by Daimi Ramirez and Kenia Carcaces brought the Cubans back to 22-20. A great block by Maria Liktoras on Carcaces gave the Poles setpoint and Malgorzata Glinka-Mogentale finished off the set with a fine crosscourt spike.
Carrillo's meaty spike early in the second set got Cuba rolling, but Katarzyna Skowronksa-Dolata responded in kind for the Poles. Cuban captain Yumilka Ruiz then took charge with two characteristic bombs and Zoila Barros added a good block. After a great rally that saw both teams defend brilliantly, Ramirez made a stupendous block on Poland's big-hitting Anna Podolec. A wide spike by Podolec put the Cubans five points up at 10-5, but the Poles clawed their way back, aided by a couple of Cuban errors. At times, Ruiz was a one-woman demolition crew, pushing her team and scoring winners, none bigger than a devastating flying spike at 16-15. But Glinka-Mogentale responded with successive blasts and the Poles were 22-19 up. But then Podolec sent a service long and Skowronska-Dolata put a shot wide and Cuba were back in the running. A spike by Carrillo and a nicely placed shot by Ruiz drew them level, but Glinka-Mogentale drew the scores level again at 24. But spikes by Ruiz and Yanelis Santos (preceded by some awesome defense and a ripping shot by Ruiz) sealed the set for the Cubans and drew them level with the Poles.
But the Cubans soon went off the boil in the third set, despite a blistering spike by Rosir Calderon. Glinka-Mogentale hit form to give the Poles an early five-point lead, but good serving by Cuba -- Santos and Barros -- helped them level the scores at 10 and the two teams remained close all the way to 22-22. Glinka-Mogentale continued her scoring spree and put the Poles up 23-22, her colleague Podolec spiked for setpoint and a great block on Santos sealed the set.
The Poles were upset with a couple of calls by officials early in the fourth set and Cuba took advantage to lead by three at the first TTO. A Carrillo spike and block on Glinka-Mogentale forced Poland coach Marco Bonitta to call a timeout, but Cuba continued to hold firm and led 16-9 at the second TTO after Skowronska-Dolata put a serve into the net and Liktoras did the same with a spike. But after the Cubans became sloppy and allowed their lead to be reduced to five, coach Antonio Perdomo called a timeout -- to no avail, as Poland reduced the deficit to two. But the irrepressible Ruiz again came up big for Cuba, steering a winner into space to make the score 23-20 and blocking Liktoras for setpoint. She sealed the set on her own, too, first with a big spike and then a block on Liktoras again.
Neither team would give ground as the tiebreak got under way, but Podolec came up with a good spike followed by an even better block on Ramirez for an 8-6 Poland lead. Barros planted a spike down the middle and Carcaces thumped an even bigger shot to pull Cuba level. With Poland leading 13-12, Cuba twice shut down Podolec to give them matchpoint and Carrillo delivered the coup de grace with a punishing dipping serve that the Poles couldn't touch.