Melbourne, Australia, June 22, 2018 - Mateusz Bieniek and Jakub Kochanowski combined for 31 points as Poland snapped their recent losing streak with a hard-fought 3-0 (26-24, 25-20, 29-27) victory over Argentina in the last preliminary round of the men's FIVB Volleyball Nations League on Friday.
Bieniek finished with a game-high 16 points, including 13 spikes from 20 attempts, while Kochanowski racked up 12 kills in his 15-point tally as Poland recovered from a slow start to run out winners after losing their previous three matches in the United States last week.
Aleksander Sliwka and Bartosz Bednorz also performed brilliantly, finishing with nine points each as the Poles inched closer to booking a place in the VNL finals by winning their first match in Pool 17 at the Hisense Arena in Melbourne.
Cristian Poglajen spearheaded the Argentine challenge with 14 kills from 29 swings while Tomas Lopez chipped in with 12 points as the South Americans pulled off some spectacular saves, including a jaw-dropping kick to save a match point.
Argentina got off to a great start and led 20-16 in the first set when Poland coach Vital Heynen called a timeout to give his players a stern reminder to lift their game.
His team talk worked a treat. Poland quickly got back on level terms and snatched a 1-0 on their second set point.
Argentina middle blocker Agustin Loser pulled off an amazing save with his knee to help his team win a mega rally in the second set but it was not enough to prevent the eastern Europeans from jumping out to a 2-0 lead with Bieniek clinching the set with a block.
The Argentina libero Franco Massimino made an even better save when his team was down match point in the third set, kicking the ball over his head and back into court but Poland sealed victory on their third match point with a powerful spike from the athletic Artur Szalpuk.
With the win, Poland improved to 9-4 and are in a strong position to make the finals, while Argentina dropped to 2-11.
Poland's next opponent on Saturday is Brazil while Argentina faces Pool 17 hosts Australia.