FIVB U21 Championships
- June 23-July 2, 2017
- Brno, Czech Republic
Poland 3, Cuba 0 (2-20, 25-10, 25-19)
Poland grabbed its third U21 gold medal, following titles in 1997 and 2003, with a sweep of Cuba in the championship match on Sunday.
Poland has now captured the title in all three of its Final Four appearances. The 2017 lineup was made up of predominantly players who captured the U19 world title in 2015.
“This team won 47 games without losing! We played tournament after tournament and never lost any game and that is why I am so proud of these boys and I am really happy I could work with them,” Polish coach Sebastian Pawlik said. “Winning is always a beautiful emotion. We fulfilled our target.”
Cuba adds a third silver medal to its all-time tally, following runner up finishes in 1987 and 2009. All told, the team has five podium finishes, including bronze medals in 1985 and 2005.
“Congratulations to the Polish guys,” Cuban captain Adrian Edouadro Goide said. “They played simply amazingly. We did our best, but it was not enough. The silver medals are the best present we will take home from Brno.”
The match was never in doubt for Poland, which cruised to a 25-20 Set 1 win behind captain Jakub Kochanowski, crushed Cuba 25-10 behind Bartosz Kwolek in Set 2 and followed Tomasz Fornal’s lead to a 25-19 Set 3 finish.
Poland won every statistical category: kills (37-27), blocks (6-5), aces (8-1) and errors (16-24).
Four players tallied double-digit scoring efforts to pace the Polish attack. Kwolek and Jakub Ziobrowski registered 12 points apiece, while Kochanowski and Fornal followed with 10 each. Ziobrowski put down a team-best 10 kills, while Fornal added nine and Kwolek notched eight. Kochanowski served up four aces, while Kwolek added three.
Miguel David Gutierrez Suarez downed a match-high 15 points, including 14 kills, for Cuba. Miguel Angel Lopez Castro added seven points and Osniel Lazaro Melgarejo Hernandez chipped in six. Both managed six putaways. Goide recorded a team-leading three blocks.