Poland Euro

Polish captain Bartosz Kurek lifts the trophy in Rome

Saturday was a positive day for Polish volleyball as, besides seeing their country’s women’s national team start its journey at the Volleyball Olympic Qualifying Tournament with a win, Poles also got to celebrate their men’s team triumph at the 2023 CEV European Championship.

Just a month after their victory at the 2023 Volleyball Nations League, the FIVB Volleyball World Rankings leaders topped the podium in Rome by producing an empathic three-set (25-20, 25-21, 25-23) victory against reigning world champions Italy in the gold medal match.

It was just the second victory of the Polish at the European Championship, with the first having happened back in 2009. The Poles also repeated what Türkiye accomplished a few weeks ago, lifting the European Championship trophy just a few weeks after their triumph in the VNL.

Star outside hitter Wilfredo Leon led the Polish offense against the Italians, producing a match-high 13 points, with ten kills and three aces. He was also awarded as the Most Valuable Player of the tournament. Middle blocker Norbert Huber also had a great performance, delivering 12 points with five kills, five aces and two blocks.

“We knew it was going to be a tough match because Italy are a very good team,” Huber said. “I’m happy with our performance and that we got to win the European Championship. We got the job done on the court and we’re really happy because we want to be the best.”

Italian Daniele Lavia also got 13 points (11 kills, two blocks) in the gold medal match, three more than fellow outside hitter Alessandro Michieletto, who tallied nine kills and one block.

Slovenia made it to the podium for a third-straight time, just like the Polish, by finishing third following a five-set (25-22, 25-16, 21-25, 18-25, 15-11) win over reigning Olympic champions France in the bronze medal match.

The three European Championship medalists will soon be back in action at the men’s Volleyball Olympic Qualifying Tournaments, from September 30 to October 8. Poland will play in Pool C, against hosts China, Argentina, the Netherlands, Canada, Mexico, Belgium and Bulgaria.

Italy will be in Pool B, hosted by Brazil, and will also battle Iran, Cuba, Ukraine, Germany, Czechia and Qatar. Slovenia are in Pool B and will compete with hosts Japan, the United States, Serbia, Türkiye, Tunisia, Egypt and Finland.

Quick links:
Volleyball Olympic Qualifying Tournaments
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