Fine wins for the Netherlands and Russia
A strong second period proved to be decisive in both quarterfinals on the opening day of the women’s Super Final in the Europa Cup in Pontevedra (ESP). The Netherlands overcame Italy while Russia beat Hungary by two goals respectively to earn their berths in the semis.
Live stream is available here.
A great second period gave a fine advantage for the Netherlands which they managed to keep till the end of the first quarterfinal against Italy. Though the Setterosa took off a better start but a 3-0 rush – including three killed man-downs – from the Dutch did the damage by halftime. Italy pushed hard to come back but they could never go even in the second half. Still, the finish was tight, the Dutch missed two man-ups to close down the match at 7-5 and soon the Italians had a 6 on 5 for 7-7. They missed it while Katharine van der Sloot delivered in their man-up 36 seconds from time. She enjoyed a fine match just as Simone van der Kraats who scored 4, three of them from action.
The second clash was also decided in the second period, again with a 3-0 rush – though this secured a four-goal advantage for the Russians as they had already bettered the Hungarians in the first period. In fact, the Magyars had a scoreless phase lasting 15:28 minutes which saw their rivals going 2-6 up after 2-2 and that cost them the game. Still, they had a fine spell early in the third, scoring twice in 27 seconds but they couldn’t come any closer and soon the Russians responded with a three connecting goals for 4-9. Hungary tried an “all-in” approach and climbed back once more to 8-10 but a fine backhanded shot from Maria Borisova turned off the heat with 5:49 remaining securing Russia’s spot in the semis.
Greece is to take on the Netherlands on Saturday in the first SF, while host Spain will face Russia – both a must-watch encounter promising plenty of excitements. Free streaming can be followed live on the LEN website.
Arno Havenga, head coach, Netherlands:
“We played a fine game, I was really happy with our defence, I think that decided this match. At the beginning our shots weren’t the best, but they improved soon. We have a couple of great shooters who are dangerous from the outside and they were on target in the most important moments.”
Fabio Conti, head coach, Italy:
“My team played well, I was satisfied with our defence, the approach in our offence – the only problem we had was our shots. We couldn’t make them today, but what I wanted to see that we were in the game against a strong Dutch team and at this stage of the year we achieved that goal. I’m sure it’s going to be different in the summer at the European Championships when we meet again.”
Attila Biro, head coach, Hungary:
“Our long scoreless period was the key period of this match. We weren’t aggressive enough, neither in defence, nor in attack. We had a better second half but against such a strong Russian team it was a too large gap to deal with. Compared to the World League match (Hungary won 12-9 in January) definitely Ekaterina Prokofyeva made the difference: she didn’t play in that game, now we couldn’t mark her, she scored four goals – another reason for our loss.”
Andrei Belofastov, assistant coach, Russia:
“I’m really happy with my team’s performance, we did really well especially in defence and especially in the first half. Of course, it’s impossible to play on the same high level during the entire match but we could score whenever we needed. We have to play even better against Spain tomorrow.”
Europa Cup, Women’s Super Final, Day 1
Netherlands v Italy 8-6
Hungary v Russia 9-11
Schedule for Friday
For places 5-6
17.00 Italy v Hungary
18.45 Netherlands v Greece
20.30 Russia v Spain
Day 3, 24 March (Saturday)
12.00 Bronze medal game
14.00 Europa Cup Final