Konarski to provide creative spark for Poland in encounter with United States


Dawid Konarski's great scoring perfromance could spark a good run for Poland against the United States

Lausanne, Switzerland, June 1, 2019 – Dawid Konarski’s 22-point performance in Poland’s 3-1 opening win against Australia could ignite a winning start on home court when his team face the United States in Pool 3 at 17.00 local time at the Spodek Arena on Saturday.

Konarski’s 22 points were built on 17 spikes, two blocks and three service winners, providing the reigning world champions with an all-around performance that could put them in a good position to record successive VNL wins for the first time since a three-match winning streak in the third weekend of the 2018 edition.

The encounter with the USA is a replay of the 2018 World Championship semifinal, where Poland prevailed in five sets that led to their second world title in a row. Poland and the USA have met 38 times in world level tournaments, each with an equal win-record of 19 triumphs.

"Even though USA is playing a bit of an experimental squad, we will be ready for a big fight," Poland player Pawel Zatorski said.

In last year’s tournament, USA defeated Poland in straight sets in both the preliminary round and the final round.

Poland led on all fronts against Australia, including the 11 blocks and nine service winners, while USA lost in straight sets after suffering from 29 turnovers against Brazil.

“It’s never fun to lose,” USA coach John Speraw said. “There are some specific areas of the game we weren’t good at tonight. Regardless of whether we were young and inexperienced – I want them to play and compete better.”

Meanwhile, Brazil are seeking to claim back-to-back wins in Katowice, where they will play Australia at 14.00 local time.

Ricardo Lucarelli’s return in the line-up is a positive development for the South American side as he helped his squad with the opening win by scoring all his 14 points from piercing spikes on Friday.

In Pool 1, an all-European clash between Italy and Germany will take place in the second day’s opening match at 16.00 local time in Jiangmen.

The Germans are counting on balance in scoring following their 3-2 win against China on opening day, when five of their starting unit delivered double-digit outputs. The Italians, on the other hand, are banking on their young hitter Gabriele Nelli and their ace playmaker Simone Giannelli to recover from their 3-1 loss to Iran.

Hosts China will meet their Asian rivals Iran in the second match at 20.00. Like last year, Chuan Jiang is spearheading the scoring for China, while Saeid Marouf is brilliantly directing plays for the Iranian side.

Canada and Portugal are scheduled to play at 18.00 local time in Mendoza in the Pool 2 tournament. Both squads are seeking their first win, after losing their respective opening matches on Friday. In the other matchup, Argentina are facing Bulgaria at 21.10 to decide leadership in the group.

Bulgaria’s Nikolay Uchikov delivered a power-packed performance on the first day, with 27 points from 23 attacks and three blocks.

In Pool 4 at Novi Sad, Japan are looking for their second win, while Russia are seeking to bounce back after losing to France on opening day. Japan and Russia will play at 16.00 local time, and then Serbia will face France at 19.00.

Among the notable performances in Pool 4 are Jennia Grebennikov’s high-energy defensive performance as he dominates the best digger category and Yuki Ishikawa’s 19 points against Serbia that made him the third best attacker so far in the tournament.

All VNL matches will be available live and on-demand on Volleyball TV.

June 1 – full schedule:

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