2017 FIVB VOLLEYBALL WORLD GRAND PRIX – GROUP 2 FINAL/3RD-PLACE
- Group 2
- July 30, 2017
- FIVB World Grand Prix Final Day
- Ostrava, Czech Republic
- Final Four
Poland came away with the championship over Korea on the final day of Group 2 at the 2017 FIVB World Grand Prix. After Korea posted the top record in pool play and moved through Germany to the finals, Poland was able to not just defeat the Asian side, but do it in three-sets as they finish on top of the group. It also served as revenge for the European side, who had lost the two other matches against Korea that they played in this World Grand Prix.
In the third-place match, Germany was able to overcome the home crowd behind Czech Republic for a four-set victory. They didn’t have a chance at promotion like Poland did, but the win put them on the award podium for a bronze medal.
POLAND DEF. KOREA 3-0 (25-19, 25-21, 25-21)
Coming into the championship match, Korea was the favorite as they finished pool play at 8-1 and possessed the top mark at 25 points. They overcame a 2-0 set deficit to defeat Germany and move on to the gold-medal match, but it was Poland utilizing a strong attack and dominant block for the victory and the Group 2 crown.
Poland had eight more kills (42-34) in the match in addition to one less team error. The largest impact though came at the net on the defensive end, as the European side recorded 14 blocks to Korea’s eight. Not only was it enough for a Polish win, but they would win via sweep with every set at a four or more point discrepancy.
“We are very happy to win against Korea when to consider the two defeats before,” Polish head coach Jacek Nawrocki told FIVB after the victory. “We played this match very well, with passion and determination. Our blocks were perfectly placed today so we scored a lot of points with them. It is a very important victory for us.”
Berenika Tomsia led Poland with 12 points (seven kills, four blocks and an ace), as it was a team-orientated approach that won them the match. Nine different players had two or more points and five had seven or more points. Agnieszka Kakolewska was the most efficient hitter, as she struck for eight kills on 12 swings and netted 11 points.
For Korea, they were led by captain Kim Yeon Koung, who totaled over 20 kills and digs in the semifinal round. In this one, she led everyone with 15 points, although Poland did a strong job of keeping her to 10 kills considering she had 35 attempts. Hyo Jin Yang (nine points) did her best to keep Korea up to par in terms of blocks with her three, but it wasn’t enough as they may have shown some fatigue from the five-set match they played with Germany just yesterday.
“Actually after yesterday’s game we were a little bit tired for sure,” Yeon Koung told FIVB post-match. “Poland’s team is very strong. We beat them twice in the last few weeks, but today it was a very different game. However, I think we did our best to win. Poland played a different game for sure, but I am happy we could finish second. It was an honour to play at this tournament.”
It wasn’t the end that Korea wanted, but they finish the tournament with a 9-2 overall record. They dominated many opponents and although they couldn’t win for a third time over Poland, they showed their strength.
Poland will look ahead to Group 1 in the next World Grand Prix after they finished the tournament at 9-2. Both of their losses came to Korea, but they came out on top in the one that mattered the most.
GERMANY DEF. CZECH REPUBLIC 3-1 (25-23, 17-25, 25-20, 25-23)
Germany overcame a powerful Czech Republic block with a stellar serve to claim third-place in a road match. Fueled by eight aces to Czech Republic’s two, Germany won a four-set match to finish on the award podium and rebound from losing a 2-0 set lead in the semifinals to Korea.
After Germany took a tight first-set 25-23, Czech Republic exploded for a 25-17 second set victory to the match, 1-1. The top two point-scorers for Czech Republic on the day, Petra Kojdova (19 points) and Marie Toufarova (16 points), loomed large in the set and put down 31 kills on 60 attempts throughout the match. They were a big reason that both nations ended with the same amount of kills, but it wasn’t enough as Germany would respond.
In the third set, Germany came out on top 25-20. Leading 2-1, they fought off memories of losing their lead yesterday to Korea and just got over the hump to squeak out a 25-23 final set victory for a 3-1 win. Louisa Lippman dominated the match for the German side, as she collected a match-high 26 points (21 spikes, three aces, two blocks) that featured 21 kills on 41 swings. She was also second on the team in digs at 11.
“It was definitely not an easy match today after yesterday’s tie-breaker loss, which also cost us a lot of energy,” German coach Felix Koslowski told FIVB after the team won the bronze. “The temperature was also very high at this arena, so you could see some of the girls were really tired, but they showed they have their hearts in the right place, and even when everything did not go well, we managed to win the third place. I am very proud of my team.”
Neither team gains promotion or is relegated after this year’s edition of the World Grand Prix, but both can consider this event a success as they finished in the top four. Only Germany earned a spot on the award podium for the bronze medal though, as they ended the tournament at 9-2 while Czech Republic finished up at 7-4.