The Polish men’s national team built more confidence and momentum heading into the World Championships with two four-set wins over Belgium on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The victories give the Poles a five-match win streak heading into Worlds, including wins over Canada (3-0), France (3-2) and Russia (3-1) en route to the title at the Wagner Memorial tournament Aug. 24-26.
On Tuesday, the reigning world champs finished off the Belgians 25-23, 25-16, 250-25, 25-22.
The Polish starting lineup included:Grzegorz Lomacz, Damian Schulz, Jakub Kochanowski, Mateusz Bieniek, Michal Kubiak, Aleksander Sliwka and libero Pawel Zatorski.
The Belgian starters were: Hendrik Tuerlinckx, Sam Deroo, Igor Grobelny, Simon Van de Voorde, Matthias Valkiers, Pieter Coolman and libero Jelle Ribbens.
On Wednesday, the teams split the first two sets before Poland finished off the match at 25-21, 25-27, 25-14, 25-18.
The Poles mixed up their lineup a bit, keeping Zatorski at libero, Bieniek and Kubiak among the starters, but swapping out the rest for Piotr Nowakowski, Bartosz Kurek, Artur Szalpuk and Fabian Drzyrga.
The Belgians went with Deroo and Van De Voorde, but changed out the rest of the starters. Bram Van Den Dries, Stijn D’Hulst, Pieter Verhees and Tomas Rousseaux rounded out the starting six, while Lowie Stuer filled the libero role.
Kubiak downed a match-high 21 points with 18 kills, two blocks and an ace. Szalpuk (17), Nowakowski (15) and Kurek (13) also posted double-digit scoring efforts. Nowakowski and Drzyrga served up two aces apiece, while Nowakowski also put up five blocks.
Van Den Dries was the top scorer for Belgium with 14 points on 13 kills and an ace. Rousseaux (13) and Deroo (12) followed. Rousseaux tacked on 12 putaways and Deroo downed 10 kills. Verhees put up a team-leading three blocks.
Below are highlights from Wednesday’s match.
Siatkarskie święto w Szczecinie dobiegło końca. W ostatnim przed Mistrzostwami Świata meczu Polska pokonała Belgię 3:1.
Posted by Polska Siatkówka on Wednesday, September 5, 2018
On the world championships stage, Belgium is in Pool A alongside Italy, Argentina, Japan, Slovenia and the Dominican Republic. The team kicks off play vs. Argentina on Sept. 12.
Poland is in Pool D with Bulgaria, Iran, Cuba, Finland and Puerto Rico. Poland opens play on Sept. 12 against Cuba.