Ernesto Nodado III

World's No. 1 Poland went full-throttle when it mattered the most, beating Canada in three straight sets, 25-21, 25-23, 27-25, and rising to second place in the 2023 Men’s Volleyball Nations League (VNL) inside the Mall of Asia Arena, Saturday afternoon.

Photo Courtesy of Volleyball World

Poland delivered their clutch antics in the dying moments, sealing their third set comeback in style with Kamil Semeniuk’s block to hike their standing at one spot behind Japan.

Semeniuk and Norbert Huber led the offensive charge for their Polish brethren with 11 points apiece, bulldozing their way through Canada’s off-guard defense in improving their record of 9-2.

“We are happy to close this game in three sets because there are games where the opponent can change the rhythm,” said Huber in a post-match interview.

In addition, open spiker Lukasz Kaczmarek contributed to their squad’s offensive onslaught as he chipped in 10 markers.

The blue-clad spikers gained a formidable ground, with Kaczmarek and Wilfredo Leon sinking better attacks in the endgame of the opening salvo with a 4-1 run, and drew first blood.

Poland broke from their gutsy stalemate with Canada in the second set, as Leon fired an off-the-block spike, 24-23, and capped off with a block to go for a 2-0 lead.

The 2022 world championship silver medalists fumbled behind Canada’s well-executed combo plays and Samuel Cooper’s attacking barrage in the early parts, and found themselves trailing to a 20-16 lead.

But fate smiled on the Polish side as Semeniuk's excellent shot selection and Huber’s block led them to nab the first match point, 24-23.

The hell-bent Canada extended the set with two consecutive points until Semeniuk shut the door completely with a phantom rejection as well, 27-25.

Meanwhile, Cooper paced the Canadians with 19 points, failing to force a fourth set despite late-game heroics as they fell prey to Poland’s better late-game execution.

Canada dropped down to fourteenth spot in the standings as they were already aiming for classification with a 2-9 record.

Poland will be ending their preliminary phase with a blockbuster clash between the fellow powerhouse Japan on Sunday afternoon at 7:00 PM.

“It is going to be a difficult game tomorrow because Japan is still undefeated in those games,” uttered Kaczmarek.