Poland Hangs On in 5-Setter vs. Italy; Bulgaria Sweeps Japan

  0 Wendy Mayer | June 08th, 2018 | Asian Volleyball, European volleyball, FIVB Nations League - Men, International Volleyball, News


  • June 8th-June 10th, 2018
  • Osaka, Japan | Osaka Municipal Central Gymnasium (Capacity: 10,000)
  • Time Zone: Japan Standard Time (UTC +9)
  • World Rankings: #3 Poland, #4 Italy, #12 Japan, #14 Bulgaria
  • Preview
  • Schedule/Results
Date Time Score Set 1 Set 2 Set 3 Set 4 Set 5 Total Report
8 Jun 15:40 Italy  2–3  Poland 17–25 25–21 17–25 31–29 10–15 100–115
8 Jun 19:10 Japan  0–3  Bulgaria 14–25 21–25 27–29 62–79


Poland def. Italy 3-2

  • Poland defeated Italy 25-17, 21-25, 25-17, 29-31, 15-10
  • Poland moved to

Poland piled up 15 blocks and had help from 33 Italian errors in a five-set win Friday to stay atop the men’s Volleyball Nations League standings. With the loss, Italy dropped its second straight match, following a sweep at the hands of Argentina last week.

The Poles bested Italy in kills (62-61), blocks (15-6) and scored nine more points on errors (33-24) in the victory. Italy boasted a slight 5-4 edge in aces.

Artur Szalpuk paced Poland with 24 points (21 kills, 2 aces, 1 block), while four others added nine or more points. Lukasz Kaczmarek (14), Mateusz Bieniek (14), Piotr Nowakowski (10) and Bartosz Kwolek (9) rounded out the group. Kaczmarek turned in 13 kills, while Bieniek added 11 putaways and three stuffs and Kwolek posted seven kills and two blocks. Nowakowski accounted for five of the team’s 15 blocks, while also adding four kills and an ace.

Gabriele Nelli notched a match-high 25 points for Italy, with 21 kills, three aces and a block and had help from two other double-digit scorers, but it was not enough. Filippo Lanza chipped in 15 points (14 kills, 1 block) and Simone Parodi tacked on 12 points (11 kills, 1 ace) after playing as a substitute the first two sets. Simone Giannelli put up a team-best three blocks.

Here are some post-match reactions.

Italy captain Filippo Lanza: “It was a good match and both teams played a competitive game. The Polish team played really well, on the other hand, we were behind most of the time. There were many unforced errors on our side. We will try to be well prepared for the next game.”

Italy coach Gianlorenzo Blengini: “I’m not satisfied with this result. The Polish team put us in a difficult situation. We had a hard time at the end of every set, but our players never gave up till the end. We had a good reception in the beginning of the game and we started playing well in attacking and defense as the game went on. We have two more weeks to go. We will try a new combination this weekend, with eight old team members and six new members. This was the first opportunity to play with these players, and I think that we have made one step forward.”

Poland coach Vital Heynen: “All I want to say was said by the Italian head coach. Two teams are fighting hard with different players every week and this was just today’s result. I’m satisfied with this result. One problem is that our team is tired after playing five sets, to get ready for the next shot against Japan tomorrow.”


Bulgaria def. Japan 3-0

  • Bulgaria defeated Japan 25-14, 25-21, 29-27
  • Bulgaria moved to 3-4 (9 points); Japan moved to 3-4 (9 points)

Bulgaria snapped a three-match losing streak with a sweep of Japan, despite missing starting setter Georgi Brateov and Todor Skrimov. Neither player’s replacement on the roster saw action on Friday, but the team performed valiantly without them, outdoing Japan in every way.

Bulgaria topped Japan in kills (38-33), blocks (8-4) and aces (6-4) and gave up just one extra point on errors (18-17).

Nikolay Uchikov paced the Bulgarians with a match-high 16 points (12 kills, 2 blocks, 2 aces) and had help from a balanced attack including four other players with four or more putaways. Valentin Brateov chipped in 12 points (9 kills, 2 blocks, 1 ace) and Svetoslav Gotsev tacked on nine points (8 kills, 1 ace). Viktor Yosifov and Nikolay Penchev turned in four kills apiece. Yosifov also was the team’s top blocker with three stuffs, while Penchev added two aces.

Yuji Nishida and Akihiro Yamauchi led Japan with 11 and 10 points respectively. Nishida downed 10 kills and added an ace, despite playing as a substitute in Set 2. Yamauchi gave the team an all-around effort with six kills, to go with a team-best two blocks and two aces. No other player scored more than five points.

Japan led early in the last two sets before being overpowered by the Bulgarians, leaving the home crowd stunned.

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About Wendy Mayer

Wendy Mayer

Wendy Mayer has worked in athletics media relations for the last 20 years. The Northwest Missouri State alumna is currently senior writer for Volleymob.com after spending the last 15 years with Purdue athletics.

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