Bulgaria fly on Sokolov’s wings to defeat world champs


Varna, Bulgaria, June 9, 2017 – Tsvetan Sokolov once again put his scoring skills on display as Bulgaria overpowered the reigning world champions from Poland on the way to a dramatic 3-2 (25-16, 20-25, 19-25, 25-23, 16-14) victory in front of an enthusiastic crowd at the Palace of Culture and Sports in Varna.

Sokolov hammered out 21 points to top the scorers’ chart of the match. Nikolay Penchev added another 15 towards Bulgaria’s win. Bartosz Kurek was Poland’s most prolific player with 14 points.

This brings the Bulgaria v Poland head-to-head record in the World League to 6-8.

Led by Nikolay Penchev in attack and Nikolay Nikolov on serve Bulgaria made the perfect start and the Lions won the opening set by 25-16. The home team started to make a lot of errors from the serving line in the second set and for Poland it was not so difficult to win it by 25-19, while the captain of the world champions Michal Kubiak impressed with some great work in defence. 

Bartosz Kurek and Mateusz Bieniek were just unstoppable in attack and Poland was back in the game. Michal Kubiak continued to be the real leader for his team in the third set. Everything looked good for the world champions when they had a four-point lead at 18-14, but Kubiak twisted his ankle near the net and Ferdinando De Giorgi replaced him with Aleksander Sliwka. Despite this change Poland controlled the game and after another serving error by Tsvetan Sokolov the away team won the set by 25-19.

After three serving errors in a row by the Bulgarian players, Poland took a 13-11 lead in the fourth set. From this moment through the end, one player stole the show – Rozalin Penchev. The young Bulgarian spiker contributed some great attacks and serves to help Bulgaria to a 25-23 win. The battle in the tie-breaker set was fierce and nail-biting.

In the end, after a huge double block Bulgaria won it by 16-14 to triumph victorious in front of the inspiring audience.


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