After the fourth weekend of WL Brazil remains the leader of pool A, almost sure their participation in the final tournament. USA and Poland keep showing us some of the best volleyball.
It’s not easy to face some of the best teams in the world like Brazil or USA when a new team is being built. Young team of Poland passed another test by stopping the Olympic champions once again. Team of coach Andrea Anastasi was leaded by ambitious spiker Zbigniew Bartman however the glorious victory wouldn’t be possible without Bartosz Kurek and Michal Kubiak in their best shape. Bartman and Kubiak who aren’t only teammates but also best friends, communicate perfectly as if they used some kind of telepathy and it’s a real pleasure to follow them playing together. Also finally Clayton Stanley found a rival worth him. Both Stanley and Kurek scored 3 aces and were extremely dangerous at serve.
This match could be easily compared to a good thriller, when till the last moment we don’t know what’s gonna happen. Americans did they best to play at their normal level, with powerful kills and atomic serves but Poland once again made use of their most powerful weapon: block. Poland simply out-blocked USA 10-5 and it was the key to their success. USA found it difficult to interrupt Bartman and Kurek playing in trance and even ally of veterans Priddy-Stanley could only watch the score and wait for the inevitable. Hosts played a very good game but Poland was simply better in every single element of volleyball.
There is also one significant factor which leaded to a Polish victory: visitors committed less errors and seemed to be more concentrated and at the same time relaxed than Olympic champions. This loss was too much for the ambitious Americans.
The second match belonged to them. Once again they proved how strong mentally they are and no matters what happened the day before, they are always dangerous and ready to fight. Young Matthew Anderson performed one-man show, collecting 20 points and bringing his team something that they missed in the previous game: energy and freshness. Hosts found their pace and rhythm of the game again and this time Poland was forced to play under the pressure. The most interesting part was the fourth set when Poland was leading and could… actually should have won but USA awoke and killed the team spirit of their rivals. Matt Anderson, David Lee, William Priddy and Clayton Stanley somehow recharged their batteries and speed up the pace of the game even more. It was easy to see that Poland is missing self-confidence and experience yet and in the key moments of the game is making too many mistakes. Hosts won the second game 3-1 and in this way took the revenge for their loss in straight sets. For sure it wasn’t an easy matches for neither Poland nor USA and it cost both teams a lot of energy. It was the volleyball we all love: with tension, surprising scenarios and wonderful heroes.
Unlike in Chicago, fans gathered in Sao Paulo didn’t have an opportunity to watch the interesting games. Brazilians did what they were supposed to do and won twice over Puerto Rico in straight sets. Brazil with the strongest line-up, with Giba, simply smashed their rivals and didn’t let them show any of their best skills. Two of the sets ended up with shocking score 25-10 (!) which is the best comment on those matches… next week Brazil and USA will clash again and once again it’s going to be a true volleyball show. I guess that after defeat in front of home audience guys of coach Bernardo Rezende will do their best to achieve two convincing victories but knowing American mentality it will be a mission-impossible…