Dutch volleyball players fall just short against superpower Poland
The Dutch volleyball team lost the Nations League match with Poland. The Dutch impressed and upset the world number one, but fell just short after five sets: 25-22, 18-25, 25-18, 22-25, 11-15.
Those who thought that the match in Rotterdam’s Ahoy was going to be a Dutch party were deceived. The stands were in fact populated for a considerable part by Polish fans.
They too must have been surprised by the fact that the Netherlands was the stronger side in the first set. Especially on Nimir Abdel-Aziz and Maarten van Gardereen the Poles could not get a grip. Until 14-14 it was still a draw, but then the Dutch pressed on and won the set 22-25.
The Poland of Serbian national coach Nikola Grbic was not upset by this disappointing start. In the second set the Netherlands was put under much better pressure and the Polish game was much more convincing and constant.
The Dutch quickly fell far behind, but fought their way back towards the end of the set. That a hard smash by Abdel-Aziz just went out at 21-16 was a setback for coach Roberto Piazza’s team. In the end, Poland won the set 25-18.
It was thanks to Abdel-Aziz that the Dutch stayed full in the match after that. He hammered away at the beginning of the third set, with an ace and a few smashes, after which Poland immediately asked for a timeout. That did not help at all, as the Netherlands only grew further into the set and won it 25-18.
Poland, with top players like Wilfredo Leon and Jakub Kochanowksi in the ranks, did not give in. In the fourth set, the visitors were just a bit stronger than the Netherlands, which lost a series of points due to some too cautious services. At 15-15 Poland ran out and did not relinquish the lead.
In the fifth and decisive set the game was no different. Poland had the longest breath and the Netherlands had less and less answers to Leon’s powerful smashes. After more than two hours of volleyball, Norbert Huber hit the decisive point.
The Orange had already started the “Dutch block” of the Nations League well. The day before yesterday they won from China and earlier this month Cuba and Germany were defeated. The games against the United States and Argentina were lost.
Matches against Iran (Saturday) and Serbia (Sunday) are still scheduled in Rotterdam this week.