March 22, 2023

After a thrilling victory in front of their home fans in Gliwice on Thursday, Poland advanced to the semifinals of the FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship.

The United States presented Poland with a significant challenge throughout the competition; however, Poland was able to advance and continue their pursuit of a third-straight title.

After getting off to a great start, the Poles watched as the Americans came back to win sets three and four and force a tie-breaker, but in the end, the home team found a way to triumph in five sets (25-20, 27-25, 21-25, 22-25, 15-12), much to the pleasure of their boisterous supporters.

A rematch of the championship game from both the 2014 and 2018 iterations of the event will take place when Brazil and Poland face off against each other in the semifinals of the competition. Earlier on Thursday, in a quarterfinal match between two South American countries, their subsequent opponents won against Argentina by a score of 3-1.

Italy and Slovenia, who both won their quarterfinal matches on Wednesday in Ljubljana against France and Ukraine, respectively, will face each other in the other semifinal. On Saturday, the matches for the semifinals will take place in Katowice, Poland, at 18.00 local time (16.00 GMT) and 21.00 local time (19.00 GMT) — the order in which the matches will be played has not been determined at this time.

One of the most important aspects of the Polish triumph in Gliwice was their ability to control the middle. On the European side, Jakub Kochanoswki and Mateusz Bieniek combined for 34 points, but the middle blocks for the United States, David Smith, Jeff Jendryk, and Taylor Averill, only produced 16 points.

Kochanowski, who is 25 years old, was on fire from the service line. In addition to his 15 kills, he racked up a match-high three aces, giving him a total of 18 points for his performance. Bieniek, on the other hand, was in good form at the net, delivering a match-high six blocks. In addition to his match-high block total, he also had eight kills and two aces to contribute to his 16-point performance.

Bartosz Kurek, the star opposite and team captain, was the only Polish player to have a better output than the two middle blockers. He finished the match with 21 points to his name, 20 of which came from kills, and one of which came from a block.

Kurek’s reaction was, “What an amazing squad the USA is, they really pushed us to our breaking point.” After the second set, we let our level to slip, which forced us to start over and find our game. I am relieved that we were successful in the tie-breaker. It was an incredible demonstration of teamwork on our end, and it just goes to show how incredible our group is.

Sliwka, who plays in the outfield and is an outside hitter, is the player that I want to focus on in particular. This season, he has received a lot of criticism, and today, he put on a spectacle in response to those critics. He was clearly the most talented athlete competing today.

The 27-year-old Sliwka earned 11 points, all of which came from kills, and he was also responsible for the point that ultimately decided the match.

Aaron Russell, an American outside hitter, finished with 24 points to lead all scorers in the match (22 kills, one block, one ace). Another nine kills were contributed by outside hitter Garrett Muagututia, who came off the bench, while opposite Matt Anderson added another 18 kills to his total (seven kills, two aces).

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