Poland prevailed over Russia in an exhausting semifinal encounter that ended with a brawl: 3-2 (25-21, 25-15, 19-25, 18-25, 17-15).
Until the semifinals, Poland did not lose a single set, defeating Brazil, France, Iran, Canada in Pool C, and Chinese Taipei in the quarterfinals so the encounter against “Zbornaya”, coached by the former legendary libero Aleksey Verbov, was the first real test for the Poles.
The players led by Paweł Woicki had to deal with Russia without Jędrzej Gruszczyński, who flew to Chicago to join the senior national team at the Final Six of the FIVB Nations League after three games in the pool stage, and also without Łukasz Kozub, who had minor health problems.
After the final whistle, there was a commotion under the net between the players of the two sides. Some Russian players even went to the Polish side of the court in order to settle scores (the incident starts at 2:19:12 in the video). Eventually, the members of coaching staffs interfered and managed to separate them.
Kamil Semeniuk (the new player of ZAKSA Kędzierzyn Koźle) top-scored for Poland with 15 points, while Paweł Halaba (the new player of Trefl Gdańsk) served 4 aces. In Russia, Andrey Surmachevskiy (Zenit Kazan) notched 17 points, including 6 aces.
In the final, Poland will play hosts and also an undefeated team in the tournament Italy, who swept France by a 3-0 (25-16, 25-21, 25-18). Thus, Italy will play for the gold medal in both competitions.
The block of Italian players was devastating to France: 23 in only three sets, comparing to 8 of France! France had a huge chance to tie the score in sets at 1-1 but failed to keep the 4-point lead in the second set.
Giacomo Raffaelli (the new player of Poitiers, France) was Italy’s most prolific player with 17 points (8 kill blocks). Alberto Polo (Kioene Padova) set up 6 kill blocks. Kévin Rodriguez (next season in Cannes) scored 9 points for the “Les Bleus”, including 4 kill blocks. France did not serve a single ace in the match.
Men’s Volleyball tournament of the 2019 Summer Universiade – semifinals:
Poland – Russia 3-2 (25-21, 25-15, 19-25, 18-25, 17-15)
France – Italy 0-3 (16-25, 21-25, 18-25)
Bronze medal match:
Russia vs. France (17:30 C.E.T)
Poland vs. Italy (20:30 C.E.T.)
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