WARSAW, Jan. 8 (Xinhua) -- Poland came from a set down and claimed a victory over Bulgaria 3-1 on Tuesday in Apeldoorn, Netherlands to make a perfect start in the qualifying tournament for Tokyo 2020.
The attacker Malwina Smarzek-Godek was the best scorer for the winning team with 24 points. Magdalena Stysiak added 19, while Elitsa Vasileva tallied 15 points for Bulgaria. The first set was very close and it was Ivan Petkov's team who had the last word as Vasileva scored the crucial point to make it 25-23.
Poland reacted in the best possible way to impose dominance. The Bulgarian players couldn't find a way to contain Smarzek-Godek, while Maria Stenzel delivered a stunning passing performance with 93% positive off 28 and no errors to become MVP of the game.
"I think the first set was really hard for us because we were very stressed. This tournament is very hard; everyone is a good opponent. We came back, it's good for us, we pushed with emotions in the first set and the other sets went our way", commented Stenzel in the interview for the official CEV site.
For the teams who compete in Apeldoorn, the tournament is the last chance to secure their ticket for Tokyo 2020. In the first round, eight teams play in two pools. Four teams advance into the semifinals, with only the winner of the tournament qualifying for the Olympic Games.
On Thursday Netherlands host Poland, while Bulgaria play against Azerbaijan.