Katarina Lazovic also excelled in defensive duties Tuesday afternoon in Kortrijk, as she led Serbia to a sweep of Poland in the 2019 FIVB Volleyball Nations League.
Kortrijk, Belgium, June 4, 2019 - Even without their top guns, reigning world champions Serbia stopped table leaders Poland in their tracks Tuesday evening at Kortrijk with a very convincing 3-0 (27-25 25-21, 25-22) win on the opening day of Week 3 of the 2019 FIVB Women's Volleyball Nations League.
It was Serbia's fourth win in seven matches, masterfully executed by teenager Katarina Lazovic who led the Balkan side in scoring with 18 points. The 19-year-old outside hitter provided an exceptional show overall and thrilled Serbia fans who got a very promising glimpse of what the furture generation has to offer.
Poland's opposite Malwina Smarzek was still top scorer of the game on 19 points, but with an attacking efficiency of just 36% (19/52) rather below the standard that earned her last week three entries (including an all-time VNL high) in the list of 30+ points scorers.
That leaves Turkey, who had earlier defeated the Dominican Republic in Bangkok in four sets, and Italy, who had previously downed the Netherlands also in four at Hong Kong, standing in first place at 5-1 - though USA could well catch up later in the dayif they beat Korea at home in Nebraska.
Poland had a chance to set off on a better note, when they led 22-24 in the first set. But a series of mostly unforced errors evaporated their two set balls and allowed Serbia to overtake them and take the set on their own second set point.
A couple of substitutions in the starting lineup of the third set by Polish coach Jacek Nawrocki
hardly made an impact, as Branko Kovacevic
(standing in this week for Serbia head coach Zoran Terzic) remained with his starting lineup throughout - in fact not even making any substitutions at all in the second and third sets.
And just as Poland closed in to 23-22 in the third in a feeble attempt at a comeback, 23-year-old setter Sladjana Mirkovic
brought it home, taking Serbia to match point with a first-touch attack and then stepping up to the service line to deliver an astounding ace in the far corner.
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