Polish Pride on Polson Pier

Toronto, Canada, September 15, 2016 - It was a “prideful” day for Poland here Thursday afternoon on Polson Pier as the Beach Volleyball pairs of Piotr Kantor/Bartosz Losiak and Grzegorz Fijalek/Mariusz Prudel from the European country posted pool play victories at the US$500,000 SWATCH FIVB World Tour Finals.

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Kantor and Losiak, a pair of 24-year olds, scored a shocking 2-0 (21-10, 21-15) Pool C win in 28 minutes over Phil Dalhausser and Nick Lucena of the United States in the third international meeting between the two teams with the Poles gaining a 2-1 advantage in the series.

The win was Kantor and Losiak’s first of the competition as the pair concludes group action Friday against Josh Binstock and Sam Schachter of Canada.  Dalhausser and Lucena ended Pool C action with a 1-1 record after defeating the Canadians in their opening match Wednesday.

Twelve minutes after Kantor and Losiak’s win, Fijalek and Prudel rebounded from an opening setback Wednesday to a team from Latvia by defeating Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen of The Netherlands 2-0 (21-14, 26-24) in a 40-minute Pool B match..  It was the 10th FIVB World Tour meeting between the two teams with the series tied 5-5.

Grzegorz Fijalek and Mariusz Prudel defeated Dutch Olympic silver medallists Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen on Thursday

“We played better than yesterday, so that is good for us,” said Prudel, who saw his team drop a 2-1 (21-17, 22-24, 15-9) decision in 55 minutes Wednesday to Aleksandrs Samoilovs and Janis Smedins of Latvia.  “We have good teams, good players from Poland, I think it’s going up.  To be here is really good for every team.  It would be great to have an all-Polish final.”

Fijalek added that “we have a lot of Polish fans here in Toronto.  For us the serious tournament starts on Saturday.  It’s a hard season, especially with the Olympics, but we are happy and proud to be here with the best teams in the world.”

With both teams playing at the same time on Polson Pier, Losiak said "it's a really good win for us. They are one of the best teams in the world right now. This is a really important win for us.  We hope that we can play like this all week.”

Other winning men’s teams Thursday were American’s Tri Bourne/John Hyden and Italians Adrian Carambula/Alex Ranghieri as both pairs completed pool play with 2-0 and 1-1 records, respectively.  Bourne and Hyden posted a 2-0 (21-17, 21-17) Pool D win in 34 minutes over Ben Saxton/ Chaim Schalk of Canada to take a 2-1 edge in the FIVB series.  

The win also earned Bourne and Hyden the Pool D title and a “bye” into the quarter-finals when elimination play starts Saturday.  The 12th-seeded Bourne and Hyden have now defeated two teams that placed ninth in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games as the Americans opened SWATCH Finals action Wednesday by upsetting Evandro Goncalves and Pedro Solberg of Brazil.

Carambula and Ranghieri gained a 2-0 (26-24, 23-21) Pool A win in 50 minutes over Lombardo Ontiveros/Juan Virgen of Mexico for their second win in as many matches against their North American rivals.  Ontiveros and Virgen, who captured the gold medal at the 2015 PanAmerican Games in Toronto, play Rio Olympic champions Alison Cerutti and Bruno Oscar Schmidt of Brazil Friday.

The SWATCH FIVB World Tour Finals also features women’s competition where pool play was concluded Thursday to set the bracket for Friday’s elimination rounds.  The women’s “final four” matches will be played Saturday with the men’s semi-final and medal contests Sunday.  The winning teams will share the $100,000 first-place prizes.


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