Poland and hosts Bulgaria claimed three points each as action in Pool B of the FIVB Volleyball U21 Men’s World Championship got underway at Levski Sofia volleyball hall on Thursday. Poland opened their campaign with a four-set win over Cuba, while Bulgaria shut out Bahrain.
Hosts Bulgaria take lead in Pool B
Poland also start U21 World Champs with a win
Published 06:05, 23 Sep 2021
Poland prevailed over Cuba in the opening match of the tournament and celebrated with a 3-1 (25-16, 25-19, 18-25, 25-19) victory. The Europeans outplayed the Caribbeans mainly in blocking (11 stuffs against seven), but what made the biggest difference were the unforced errors. Cuba committed as many as 32 of those, practically deciding the match in favour of the opponents. They scored nine aces against six for the winners and even slightly outdid the opponents in offence (43 spikes against 42).
Poland’s opposite Dawid Dulski and Cuba’s outside Marlon Yant shared the top scorer honours with 17 points apiece, followed by Polish captain Michal Gierzot with 16 and Cuba’s Jose Suarez with 15.
“It is always difficult to play the first match of the tournament. I think that our team played well today. We dominated in blocking and I think that this was the crucial element today,” said Gierzot.
Although in each of the sets, Bulgaria struggled a little to establish their domination, in the end the hosts of Pool B delivered a 3-0 (25-21, 25-21, 25-23) shutout of Bahrain. The European team committed far too many unforced errors (31) to allow the opponents to stay competitive in the match. However, Bulgaria outplayed Bahrain in all the other elements, especially in attack with 47 successful hits against 26 for the guys from the Persian Gulf.
Bulgaria’s opposite Denis Karyagin aced to close the second set and, at match point, delivered the winner with an off-the-block spike. He tallied 18 points to top the scorers chart of the match. Sayed Amin Ebrahim was Bahrain’s most prolific scorer on 13.
“It was as difficult as every first game at a big championship. We were also a little bit under pressure. The Bahraini team should not be underestimated, because they play very good-level volleyball. Our next opponents are much more serious, but over the course of the matches, we will raise our level of play,” Bulgarian captain Lyuboslav Telkiyski said.