Tonight’s USA vs. Poland FIVB World League match at the Sear’s Centre in Hoffman Estates was a challenge for both teams. Team USA outlasted Team Poland 3-2 to take the first match of the weekend series. It is also a challenging night for Middle Hitter since I left my 10 pages of match notes on my clipboard in the press conference area and am sitting home writing this story. I will have to use my memory.
Anderson and Aaron Russell started at the pin positions. Max Holt and David Smith were the middles with Murphy Troy as the opposite. The starters were rounded out with Micah Christenson setting and Erik Shoji as the libero. Poland has Mateusz Bieniek and Piotr Nowakowski as middles and Mateusz Mika and Michal Kubiak at the outsides. Fabian Drzyzga was setting and Pawel Zatorski started as libero. These six would start every set for Team Poland. Usually I provide the rotation but that is in my missing notes. The first set was tightly contested with Poland running 1 or 2 points ahead for most of the set. Poland reached set point but serves into the next giving Team USA another shot. David Lee subs in to serve and responds with an ace bringing it to 24-23 but his next serve after the Poland time out goes into the next giving Poland the first set 25-23.
The same lineups for both teams to start the second set. Poland jumps out to a quick lead and had a 3 point advantage over USA as they struggled to put the ball away. Coach Speraw subbed in Thomas Jaeschke for Russell after a hitting error giving Poland a 5-2 lead. The three point lead started to vanish after the second technical time out with Team USA tying it up at 17 Matt Anderson crush. Murphy Troy begins to take over and Christenson helped the cause with a service ace. Troy completed the comeback with a cross-court kill to win the set 25-23.
The third set was tight until the first technical time out with Poland up 8-7. Poland pushed ahead and took a 4 point lead at the second technical time out, 16-12. Poland widened the lead to 21-16 before USA started a mini-rally. The rally stopped when a David Lee quick middle went wide giving Poland the set at 25-19.
Team USA came out with a sense of urgency in the fourth set jumping to a 6-3 lead. The US led most of the match with a 16-14 lead at the second technical time out. Poland quickly tied it up at 16 but just as quickly fell back. Team USA wins the match 25-22 setting up the 5th and final set.
This set was all Team USA as Poland looked tired making continuous hitting and serving errors. The Team USA defense would not let the ball hit the ground frustrating Team Poland. A Poland hitting error gave the USA the set 15-9 and match 3-2 despite a challenge from Team Poland.
During the press conference, both captains expected better play on Saturday night. Middle Hitter also hopes to have better coverage on Saturday night! The press conference video will be edited and posted later this weekend.