Bartosz Kurek (left) and Marcin Mozdzonek combined for seven blocks in their 3-0 win over Japan
Tokyo, Japan, May 31, 2016 – World champions Poland remain undefeated after they completed a straight-set (25-22, 25-16, 25-23) win over hosts Japan at the Men’s World Olympic Qualification Tournament at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium on Tuesday.
Marcin Mozdzonek and Bartosz Kurek scored 13 and 12 points, respectively, to lead Poland to victory. Mozdzonek’s four blocks and Kurek’s three deflections comprised more than half of their total block output of 11 against the Asian side. Yuki Ishikawa topped all scorers with 17 points.
Japan started well with a 5-3 lead but Poland adjusted their offence to offset at 6-all. Poland played steadily after and punched in points that formed a comfortable lead at the second technical timeout. Poland ruled the net with five blocks to lead 22-18, but Yuki Ishikawa’s superb trip to the service line brought Japan back to within two points. A faulty serve by Japan reinstated the Poland lead to two points, until Dawid Konarski concluded the first set in favour of the Europeans 25-22. Japan scored on great service aces that gave them an 8-5 lead, but Poland easily wiped out the lead when they toughened up their block. Poland’s strength was too overbearing for the hosts. The visiting side stretched their lead to 23-15 and closed it at 25-16.
Poland continued to dominate in the third frame but Japan worked extra hard to keep their rivals within striking distance. Poland led by as much as three points in the set but the Asian side staged a run on a block and attack point that cut down the lead of the former to only one point at 22-21. Mozdzonek tried to bring his side back up with an attack winner in the middle, but he also committed a service error that allowed Japan to trail at 23-22. Poland got match point but Kurek was called for a double touch on the second ball for a 24-23 score, until he redeemed his previous error with a spike to end set and match 25-23.