By Adanoos

A quick correction first. After Masahiro Yanagida got injured in practice a few days ago, no one was worried, because it didn’t look bad. Sadly, after further examinations, doctors found out that it is a serious injury (ATFL rupture). The club accepted Yanagida’s and the Japanese federation’s request to let Masahiro go back to Japan and continue treatment (rehabilitation too) in his country. Cuprum can use medical transfer, but it is unknown whether they are going to sign anyone.

A long and eventful day of volleyball started in Rzeszów. The first set had a pretty even beginning, but soon Resovia started to dig spikes and counter successfully, that’s how Thibault Rossard gave them their first lead (10:8), Buszek increased it (13:10) and Możdżonek gave his team a very safe lead (18:12) after a good attack. Even though Trefl started to fight back and the score got fairly close after Muzaj’s ace (20:18), the home team stayed cool and the won first set 25:21. In the 2nd set Resovia was quicker and 6:0 break with 2 blocks by Możdżonek and 2 breakpoints scored by Rossard gave them a 12:5 lead. A change of setters didn’t help the guests too much and after Rossard’s ace, it was 17:8. Another substitution and this time Szymon Jakubiszak replaced Miłosz Hebda (some might joke that he was the best Resovia player) and Trefl kept the gap from increasing but lost the set 25:16.

The guests took the initiative first in the 3rd set and after aces by Nowakowski and Muzaj followed by Jakubiszak’s great hit, they went up 11:8. Moments later Szymon Jakubiszak was serving and caused a lot of chaos on the other side of the net, which resulted in 7:0 break and 18:9 scoreline. Later errors made by Trefl and Rossard’s great services (2 aces) forced Andrea Anastasi to take both timeouts, but the score stayed safe the whole time and the guests won the set 25:19. Gdańsk was quick to start in the 4th set too (4:1), but this time quick answers from Shoji and Rossard came next and the score was even (4:4). It stayed this way for a moment, but first Nowakowski’s block in this set gave Trefl another lead (10:8) and 2 more that followed increased it to 14:9. That’s when Damian Schulz replaced Jakub Jarosz and it was the boost Resovia needed. The polish opposite scored 3 points in a row and soon his team equalized (15:15). Then, Rossard started to serve, demolished his opponents and after his ace, the home team was ahead by 3 points (19:16). This gap stayed the same, but when Thibault Rossard missed two hits in a row (2nd was insanely close though) and the scoreboard was showing 23:23. Resovia wasted first and second match ball, Jakubiszak scored a point with his service and guests had a chance to force a tie-break (26:25), but their opponents defended well (26:26). Muzaj spiked out and the home team had a 3rd match ball, defended by Schott, but the fourth one was the lucky one for Resovia and Rafał Buszek finished the game.

A great performance from Buszek (19 points, 1 ace, 51% kills) and Rossard (20 points, 4 aces, 53% kills) with the addition of solid middles (16 points, 4 blocks, 52% kills combined) and a pretty good Shoji (finally). Jarosz (12 points, 52% kills) was great a bit over 2 sets, but Schulz gave him a good sub (7 points, 50% kills) and scored when his team needed him the most. For the first time this season 2 Resovia outsides played well at the same time, both of them could end with MVP (Personally I would give it to Buszek, he was better in the key moments of this match) and it went to Rossard. Pretty good Schott (12 points, 2 blocks, 45% kills), average Muzaj (21 points, 3 aces, 42% kills) and a worse than usual Nowakowski (8 points, 5 blocks, 1 ace, but only 25% kills) was not enough to score at least a point in Rzeszów. The 3rd set was won mostly by Jakubiszak (7 points, 2 aces, 100% kills in that set), who once again looked pretty good (12 points, 3 aces, 53% kills), but couldn’t lead his team to victory.

In the next game, Zawiercie was playing the last team in the table, MKS Będzin. The first set went the way of the home team, but it wasn’t easy. There was 21:21 draw, but Aluron had better finish and won 25:21. Alexandre Ferreira was very effective (10 points, 1 ace, 75% kills), Waliński caused havoc with his service (3 aces) and only a high number of errors (10 by Zawiercie) made this set pretty even. The second set was very onesided, Warta made fewer errors while keeping their high kill %, service, and block. But Jan Fornal replaced Buchowski for 3rd set, Tichacek stopped trying to use his middles and MKS started to play better. Aluron slept through the first half of 3rd set and their chance was unsuccessful. Even though Kamil Semeniuk didn’t help too much in this set, he stayed on the court for next one.

The 4th set started well for the home team, after a few good counters, they were leading 17:13. When it was 22:18, it looked like home fans will be satisfied soon, but MKS fought back and after Grzechnik’s ace, the score was even (23:23). But 7 service aces (4 by Langlois) and 73% kills by Faryna was not enough to win 4th set, Aluron stayed calm and Gawryszewski scored 27th point for his team with a good hit. Warta Zawiercie won 3:1. A very good offensive display by Ferreira (19 points, 1 block, 2 aces, 59% kills), but his defensive side was bad (15 receptions, 4 errors, 20% positive). Very good games by both middles (19 points, 6 blocks, 1 ace, 80% kills) and a solid sub by Malinowski (12 points, 1 block, 2 aces, 53% kills) are worth noticing too. MKS finally had 2 fit middles and Jake Langlois could play as an outside and he did pretty well (18 points, 1 block, 6 aces, 46% kills), but had some problems with receiving (5 errors). Buchowski was brutal, but Fornal (9 points, 1 block, 2 aces, 50% kills) replaced him well. MKS middles were spiking terribely (47% kills, 37% efficiency), but 5 blocks and 2 aces improved their numbers quite a bit. Once again Rafał Faryna looked really good (20 points, 61% kills), but didn’t add anything with block or service. Also, his efficiency was 36%, not impressive.

In the next game, Zaksa had no problems with beating Cuprum Lubin 3:0. Every set had a similar scenario, Zaksa fairly quickly took the lead, their opponents tried to chase them, improved score, but it doesn’t help, because guests from Kędzierzyn-Koźle easily increased the pace and won the set. Łukasz Kaczmarek had an average game (12 points, 40% kills) after a great first set (7 points, 58% kills), similarly Rafał Szymura wasn’t great (12 points, 1 block, 50% kills) and only a very good last set (8 points, 73% kills) boosted his numbers massively. Alex Śliwka was the most consistent winger of his team (12 points, 57% kills and efficiency) and with help of both middles (especially in 2nd set), who scored 18 points (2 blocks, 2 aces, 67% kills) led Zaksa’s offense. Paweł Zatorski (12 receptions, 67% positive, 50% perfect) once again worked on improving his statistics. Cuprum’s best player was top scorer of the whole match, Jakub Ziobrowski (14 points, 50% kills). All outsides (Grobelny, Smith, Wachnik) had problems with their spiking (40% kills combined) and only Grobelny finished with good defensive stats (82% positive reception). Lubin’s middles scored only 8 points (4 blocks, 40% kills) and were completely outclassed by Bieniek and Wiśniewski.

Next GKS Katowice faced Chemik Bydgoszcz. After Bydgoszcz won the first set 25:22 it looked like an upset was coming, but Karol Butryn (I have no idea why he didn’t start) replaced Krzysiek during 2nd set and from that point home team was controlling the game. Chemik was a competitive opponent only in the 3rd set. GKS was blocking really well (16 blocks) once again and this element was key to their victory. Both Krulicki (8 points, 5 blocks, 75% kills) and Kohut (12 points, 5 blocks, 1 ace, 60% kills) were shining in this element. Tomas Rousseaux was a bit worse than usually (16 points, 1 block, 1 ace, 45% kills), but Sobański (13 points, 3 aces, 53% kills) and Butryn (15 points, 1 block, 1 ace, 59% kills) were really good and with addition of good middles and very high scoring game by Komenda (7 points, 4 blocks, 1 ace) it was more than enough to score 3 points and keep high chances for the playoff battle. This time Chemik was disappointed by all of their middles (9 points, 2 blocks, 1 ace, 33% kills and 11% efficiency combined), so even okay(ish) kills % from the wings (48% for Lipiński and Filipiak, 46% Kovacevic and 50% Gryc) couldn’t make this game competitive. Also, getting blocked 16 times (6 times Filipiak, Lipiński and Kovacevic both 3 times) didn’t help.

In Jastrzębie-Zdrój, Jastrzębski was visited by Indykpol AZS Olsztyn. The first started pretty evenly, but Jan Hadrava started to get his team ahead with an ace (7:6), blocks by Zniszczoł and Andringa increased their lead (12:8) and this gap increased after breakpoints scored with an attack by Lux and Hadrava (17:12). But Jastrzębski woke up and started to nullify their lead and after Fromm finished the rally, the score was 18:17. AZS was still ahead, but Lyneel scored 2 points with blocks and got his team into the lead (23:22). Jastrzębski had 2 set balls wasted, and Lux gave his team the first set ball (26:25) but followed it with a service error. Fromm scored another point with a good spike and the home team had their 3rd chance to win this set, but they weren’t successful. The same happened with the next 4 set balls. Then Olsztyn had their second chance after Lux’s block and they didn’t waste it (33:31).

Jastrzębski started the 2nd set better, after 2 blocks and a good counter they went up 4:1. But a spiking error by Lyneel and a block by Zniszczoł quickly evened things out (7:7). Then Indykpol proceeded to take lead (11:9) and kept it for a long time. It changed when 5:0 break came and score went from 20:18 in favor of AZS to 23:20 in favor of home team. Guests took the lead in 3rd set too. Zniszczoł added one more block to his tally, Lux added one more ace and AZS was leading 15:10, but Jastrzębski answered immediately and after Woicki’s mistake, the score was even (15:15). Then both teams had their share of 2 point leads (17:19, 21:19, 21:23), but in the end there was another 23:23 draw and interesting finish. Jastrebski was 1st to have a set ball and this time they needed only 3 and won this set 27:25 after Kampa’s ace. When Olsztyn was losing 12:9, it looked like everything was going according to pre-match expectations. But after another successful block by Zniszczoł, his team got a lot closer (17:16) to their opponents. Moments later Hadrava equalized (20:20), Fromm made a spiking error, Pietraszko scored a breakpoint and score was 23:21. This time Indykpol stayed cool and won the set 25:22 after Konarski’s mistake.

At first, both teams were doing their job in the tie-break and not letting their opponents get ahead. It all changed with Lyneel’s spiking error (7:5) and the gap grew to 3 points after Lux’s ace (10:7). Even though Kampa’s block got both teams close (13:12), 2 service errors followed and Jan Hadrava didn’t waste the 2nd match ball his team had and Indykpol won 15:13.

MVP went to Marcel Lux (19 points, 1 block, 2 aces, 44% kills, 31% efficiency), who not only did a lot of good in offense, but did really well in defense too (45 receptions, exactly half of his team, 42% positive and only 1 error). Jan Hadrava was spiking the most, but his numbers were not impressive (19 points, 1 block, 1 ace, 35% kills, 16% efficiency). Another hero of this match was Miłosz Zniszczoł (13 points, 8 blocks, 42% kills), who was surely close to some kind of record with his block. Looking at Jastrzębski, it was unusually poor game for Lyneel (20 points, 4 blocks, 40% kills, 15% efficiency), the middles didn’t impress either (18 points, 7 blocks, 50% kills combined), so an even better than usual Fromm (21 points, 1 block, 54% kills) and a solid Konarski (24 points, 2 blocks, 46% kills, 33% efficiency) didn’t help.

The last game of the day took place in Warszawa, where Onico was playing against PGE Skra Bełchatów. Ebadipourwas in the starting lineup and Szalpuk on the bench were definitely good news to the team. In the first set both teams were spiking ridiculously good (78% kills Onico, 79% Skra), but 4 aces served by Bełchatów made the difference and Skra won the 1st set 25:21. Skra kept serving well in the 2nd set, they added a better block (4 points) and forced Stephane Antiga to replace Kwolek (who had massive reception problems) with Penchev. Both teams couldn’t keep fantastic kill %, but this time Skra was better in this element too.

Onico, with Penchev on the court, started the 3rd set way better. After the Bulgarian player’s ace and Kurek’s block, they were leading 6:2. This 4 point difference stayed the same for some time, but Kurek’s block and spike got Onico ahead by 6 points (16:10). But guests finally woke up and after Ebadipour’s ace and Kochanowski’s spike, the score was 18:15. Even though Kurek scored a 3rd point with his block in this set and Onico went up 20:15, Skra didn’t give up. Kurek spiked out, Orczyk (who replaced Łomacz, just to improve block) finished a counter and Teppan followed with an ace, the score got very close (21:20). A good block and 4 touches by the home team and the scoreboard showed 22:22. Onico had a great chance to close the set with their 3rd set ball, but a monster block from Kochanowski stopped Kurek (26:26). Then Katic blocked Kurek (27:26), but Kochanowski’s service landed out. Łukasik scored the 28th point with a block, but Teppan quickly equalized. After the Estonian served out, Onico had their 5th set ball and this time Kurek finished the rally and his team won the 3rd set.

The momentum was on the home team’s side and they easily won the 4th set 25:16. The tie-break was great, both teams couldn’t get ahead of their opponents. When the score was 12:12 Kurek served an ace, which later gave his team the first matchball (14:13), but Katic defended his team well and Teppan gave his team 2nd matchball (first was in 3rd set). Onico defended, but Skra opposite attacked successfully again (16:15) and again (17:16) after Vigrass saved his team earlier. Finally, the 3rd matchball of tie-break for Skra (4th overall) was the charm and Kochanowski’s massive block on Kurek finished the match.

MVP went to Grzegorz Łomacz, who played a really good game and distributed the ball very well. Definitely deserved. But no one would argue against choosing Renee Teppan (23 points, 1 block, 2 aces, 59% kills) as MVP either, the Estonian opposite played a great match and was a leader of Skra in key parts of this game. Solid performances from Ebadipour (17 points, 2 blocks, 3 aces, 48% kills), Kłos (10 points, 1 block, 2 aces, 57% kills) and Katic (14 points, 3 blocks, 1 ace, 50% kills) helped a lot. Kochanowski was fantastic again (15 points, 2 blocks, 1 ace, 80% kills and efficiency), even though he made more service errors (7) than he usually does. Only Kacper Piechocki (49 receptions, 3 errors, 39% positive, 16% perfect) didn’t play a good match on Skra’s side.

The first thing that comes to mind looking at Onico stats is, how heavily they relied on Kurek. He was spiking 43 times in this game, while next players were Penchev, Wrona (both 14) and Łukasik with only 13. Antoine Brizard played very simple volleyball and no matter how well Kurek played, he couldn’t win almost by himself. Polish opposite scored 30 points (most in the game), 4 blocks, 1 ace and 58% kills (37% efficiency) are a very good score and surely he would be MVP of this match if Onico won. Piotr Łukasik (who started to use jump serve, good for him and his team) was working hard in defense (44 receptions, 3 errors, 32% positive, 18% perfect) and did well in offense when he had a chance to (11 points, 3 blocks, 1 ace, 54% kills). Niko Penchev (9 points, 2 aces, 50% kills) replaced Kwolek (Skra scored 4 aces on him) very well and proved that he is ready to fight for a spot in a starting lineup. Wrona was average at best (9 points, 2 blocks, 50% kills), while Graham Vigrass played another very good match (12 points, 1 block, 2 aces, 90% kills and efficiency) and rumours about him replacing Bieniek in Zaksa might get a bit louder. Overall it was a pretty good game with a fantastic tie-break and great 3rd set, but the rest was unimpressive.

Asseco Resovia Rzeszów 3:1 Trefl Gdańsk

25:21, 25:16, 19:25, 29:27

Resovia: Shoji (4), Rossard (20), Smith (8), Jarosz (12), Buszek (18), Możdżonek (8), Masłowski (libero), Perry (libero) and Schulz (7), Kozub

Trefl: Janusz (1), Schott (12), Nowakowski (8), Muzaj (21), Hebda (3), Niemiec (5), Olenderek (libero) and Jakubiszak (12), Kozłowski (1), Sasak

MVP: Thibault Rossard

Aluron Virtu Warta Zawiercie 3:1 MKS Będzin

25:22, 25:20, 22:25, 27:25

Warta: Masny (2), Waliński (10), Gawryszewski (9), Bociek (4), Ferreira (19), Kania (10), Koga (libero) and Żuk, Dosanjh, Malinowski (11), Semeniuk (7)

MKS: Tichacek (2), Buchowski (2), Grzechnik (9), Faryna (20), Langlois (18), Ratajczak (8), Potera (libero) and Kowalski, Fornal (8), Gregorowicz (libero)

MVP: Michał Masny

Cuprum Lubin 0:3 Zaksa Kędzierzyn-Koźle

18:25, 22:25, 22:25

Cuprum: Gorzkiewicz (1), Wachnik (9), Marcyniak (4), Ziobrowski (14), Smith (5), Smoliński (2), Gruszczyński (libero) and Toobal (1), Zawalski, Patucha, Grobelny (7), Biegun

Zaksa: Toniutti (1), Śliwka (12), Wiśniewski (9), Kaczmarek (12), Szymura (12), Bieniek (9), Zatorski (libero) and Shaw (1), Stępień

MVP: Aleksander Śliwka

Jastrzębski Węgiel 2:3 Indykpol AZS Olsztyn

31:33, 25:21, 27:25, 22:25, 13:15

JW: Kampa (3), Lyneel (20), Kosok (9), Konarski (24), Fromm (21), Hain (9), Popiwczak (libero) and Bucki, Rusek

AZS: Woicki (2), Andringa (13), Pietraszko (11), Hadrava (19), Lux (19), Zniszczoł (13), Żurek (libero) and Kańczok, Warda, Gil, Kapelus

MVP: Marcel Lux

GKS Katowice 3:1 Chemik Bydgoszcz

22:25, 25:18, 25:20, 25:13

GKS: Komenda (6), Rousseaux (14), Kohut (13), Krzysiek (4), Sobański (13), Krulicki (8), Mariański (libero) and Butryn (16), Ogórek (libero)

Chemik: Vinhedo, Lipiński (14), Morozau (5), Filipiak (16), Kovacevic (6), Szalacha (4), Kowalski (libero) and Karakuła, Gryc (3), Lesiuk (1)

MVP: Rafał Sobański

Onico Warszawa 2:3 PGE Skra Bełchatów

21:25, 17:25, 30:28, 25:16, 16:18

Onico: Brizard (3), Kwolek (3), Vigrass (12), Kurek (30), Łukasik (11), Wrona (9), Wojtaszek (libero) and Janikowski (1), Nowakowski (1), Araujo (1), Penchev (9)

Skra: Łomacz (2), Ebadipour (17), Kochanowski (15), Teppan (23), Katic (14), Kłos (10), Piechocki (libero) and Droszyński, Węgrzyn, Orczyk (4)

MVP: Grzegorz Łomacz

League Table:

1. Zaksa Kędzierzyn-Koźle 18G, 17W-1L, 50p

2. Onico Warszawa 19G, 14W-5L, 42p

3. Jastrzębski Węgiel 19G, 14W-5L, 41p

4. Cerrad Czarni Radom 19G, 12W-7L, 35p

5. Aluron Virtu Warta Zawiercie 19G, 12W-7L, 33p

6. GKS Katowice 20G, 10W-10L, 30p

  1. PGE Skra Bełchatów 19G, 10W-9L, 29p
  2. Asseco Resovia Rzeszów 19G, 8W-11L, 26p
  3. Indykpol AZS Olsztyn 20G, 7W-13L, 24p
  4. Trefl Gdańsk 17G, 7W-10L, 20p
  5. Chemik Bydgoszcz 20G, 6W-14L, 19p
  6. Cuprum Lubin 19G, 6W-13L, 17p
  7. MKS Będzin 20G, 1W-19L, 6p

Top scorers:

  1. Jan Hadrava – 379
  2. Maciej Muzaj – 376
  3. Karol Butryn – 345

Most aces:

  1. Jan Hadrava – 39
  2. Bartosz Kwolek – 38
  3. Karol Butryn – 36

Most blocks:

  1. Grzegorz Kosok – 53
  2. Maxim Morozau – 52
  3. Andrzej Wrona – 48

Best reception (positive):

  1. Paweł Zatorski – 59%
  2. Michał Potera – 55%
  3. Thibault Rossard – 54%

Next matches:

Zaksa Kędzierzyn-Koźle vs Onico Warszawa

Trefl Gdańsk vs Cuprum Lubin

PGE Skra Bełchatów vs Aluron Virtu Warta Zawiercie

Indykpol AZS Olsztyn vs Asseco Resovia Rzeszów

Chemik Bydgoszcz vs Jastrzębski Węgiel

MKS Będzin vs Cerrad Czarni Radom

While Zaksa against Onico is definitely the most interesting game looking at the schedule, matches between Skra and Warta or AZS and Resovia, are much more important for the Plusliga and fans of those teams. Skra can retake 6th position, while Warta can not only create a safe gap between them and other teams fighting for place in top, but they can compete with Czarni Radom for 4th position, which might be super important (4th team will play 3rd and final QF game at home if it is needed) , because both of them play a lot better at home. AZS against Resovia are 2 teams chasing Skra and GKS. Both have a realistic chance of overtaking them and taking 6th position for themselves after Indykpol rejoined this battle by beating Jastrzębski Węgiel.

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