Tokyo, Japan, May 28, 2016 – Poland endured a tough tie-break encounter with Canada 3-2 (25-18, 17-25, 25-21, 18-25, 15-9) to record a victory on opening day at the Men’s World Olympic Qualification Tournament at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium on Saturday.
Bartosz Kurek played clutch and tallied 21 points to lead Poland. Mateusz Mika came up with 18 points as Poland’s second best scorer. The Polish defenders silenced John Gordon Perrin and Gavin Schmitt, who led the Canadian offence in the first four sets. Perrin and Schmitt finished with 18 and 17 points, respectively.
Mika had a productive first set as he scored six points, including five kills. Mika was not the lone Polish player doing well on the attack as Kurek, Mateusz Bienek and Karol Klos all contributed to give a safe cushion to the European side. Mika had the last say and closed the set with an ace 25-18. Canada took an 11-4 lead in the second set, with Perrin on the forefront of their offence. Mika started to miss on his attempts as the Canadian block toughened up to maintain their lead 17-7. Poland tried to stay in the game but the Canadians ended up with the second set win 25-17.
Canada continued with great momentum and led in the third set, but Poland were able to cut down the Canadian lead at 19-17 from a powerful kill down the middle by Bienek. Poland scored on four more runs and snatched the lead. Kurek smartly tipped the ball to give Poland set point 24-21, until Mika sealed off the set at 25-21 for a 2-1 set-edge over Canada. Canada once again led in the fourth set 14-11, but this time, they protected their lead as they got good breaks on offence and defence to force a tie-breaker 25-18.
Poland jumped to a 7-1 lead in the fifth set and increased it further 9-2 from an ace by Kurek. Everything was going Poland’s way as the Canadian defence just gave in on easy shots by their opponents. Poland controlled the tempo to secure set and match 15-9.