2017 FIVB WORLD LEAGUE
Polish outside hitter Aleksander Sliwa was disappointed with his team’s performance against Russia on Thursday, which resulted in a 3-0 loss for Poland in front of a home crowd of 8,500 fans in Katowice.
With a win, Poland would’ve had strong footing for advancement to the Final 6 in Curitaba, Brazil in early July, but instead they’re thrust into the bottom-half of a group of 6 teams with 3 wins all fighting for 3 spots in the championship round.
Sliwka, who came off the bench in sets 2 and 3, scored only 2 points in the match.
“Russia played very well in service and block, on the offensive end and defensive end as well,” Sliwka said. “We had a lot of problems receiving their serve.”
Sliwka says that the team needs to regain the confidence that they had in the first 2 matches of the tournament, where they beat the defending Olympic gold and silver medalists, Brazil and Italy, before dropping 4 of their next 5.
Russia, for their part, said that they were surprised with the size of their victory – especially after a run of injuries left them short-handed – including to Ilia Vlasov.
“We defeated the problems with our players’ health, which I mentioned during yesterday’s press conference, and got the victory,” said coach Sergey Shiyapnikov. “We always believe in the maximum possible win and we are concentrated before every game. Vlasov is injured and we cannot say if he will be able to play in the next games.”
“We are happy with the victory,” said Russian captain Dmitry Kovalev. “The win cannot be judged, but honestly the size of the victory is a surprise.”
Watch a full video of his post-match comments below: