Poland were strongly challenged by the United States, but they continue on their quest for a third-straight FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship title following a dramatic quarterfinal victory in front of their home fans in Gliwice on Thursday.
Kochanowski and Bieniek guide Poland to the semis
With stellar performances, the middle blockers lead the defending champions to a five-set victory against USA
Published 10:02, 08 Sep 2022
After a strong start, the Poles saw the Americans come back to win sets three and four and force a tie-breaker, but in the end, the home team found a way to win in five sets (25-20, 27-25, 21-25, 22-25, 15-12) to the delight of their loud fans.
In the semifinals, the Poles will meet Brazil in a rematch of the finals of both the 2014 and 2018 editions of the tournament. Their next opponents overcame Argentina 3-1 in an all-South American quarterfinal earlier on Thursday.
The other semifinal will reunite Italy and co-hosts Slovenia, who defeated France and Ukraine respectively in Ljubljana on Wednesday. The semifinals will be played on Saturday, in Katowice, Poland, at 18.00 local time (16.00 GMT) and 21.00 local time (19.00 GMT) – the order of the matches is yet to be confirmed.
The 25-year-old Kochanowski was on fire from the service line, tallying a match-high three aces to go with his 15 kills and round up an 18-point performance. Bieniek, on the other hand, was in top form at the net, producing a match-high six blocks – he also had eight kills and two aces in his 16-point match.
“USA pushed us to our limit, what a great team they are,” Kurek reacted. “We let our level drop after the second set and we had to find our game again. I’m glad we did in the tie-breaker. It was an amazing display of teamwork from our side, we have such an amazing group. I want to highlight one player in particular - (outside hitter Aleksander) Sliwka. He’s been getting a lot of criticism this season and he’s put on a show tonight. He was the best player on the court today.”