Lille have won the French Cup once again with a comfortable 11-7 victory over Mulhouse.
The eight-time reigning champions of France wore down their opponents with some quality attacking play and take the Alice Milliat Trophy back to Hauts-de-France.
Mulhouse had a good first quarter, but two notable penalty misses did their morale no favours. Lille picked them off throughout the middle two quarters of the game to build a sizeable lead they weren’t going to throw away.
Lucas Heurtier’s team ended the game with intent, but the French champions were probably more in control than the score suggested.
When you consider that Orsolya Hertzka scored four goals, you can see why she is so pivotal to her team. Former USA international and Sun Devil, Mia Rycraw, made some quality saves to deny Mulhouse any cheap momentum.
France U20 Camelia Bouloukbachi was her team’s best hope in the game, with four excellent scores. Ultimately, though, despite a good end to the game, Mulhouse were second best for the most part.
Mulhouse WP 7 – 11 LUC Metropole (2-5, 1-2, 2-3, 2-1)
Mulhouse: L. Cruz Mancebo, V. Heurtaux, M. Le Roux 1, L. Forgacs 2, L. Guilet, L. Jean Michel, K. Mihaly, C. Bouloukbachi 4, A. Van Dyke, V. Kretzmann-Bahia, T. Raspo, A. Daule, R. Edgerton, L. Andres
Lille: M. Rycraw, M. Ouchache 1, L. Baes, G. Fitaire, E. Hardy 1, G. Deike 2, V. Kordonskaia 1, E. Bovali, O. Hertzka 4, N. Meijer 1, A. Kochetova 1
In an evenly matched first quarter, Mulhouse will have definitely felt that they deserved to be in a better position than to be trailing 5-2.
Lille though, were devastating in attack, finding crucial scores out of seemingly nothing. Orsolya Hertzka rifled two bouncing shots past Rumina Edgerton; Myriam Ouchache and Erica Hardy were the other point-scorers.
Mulhouse’s centre-forward, Camelia Bouloukbachi, was unstoppable at centre, finding her team’s first two goals of the game. But Mulhouse was wasteful though; missing two 5m penalties. They competed well, but were punished for not putting away their chances.
And while Mulhouse may have had the better opportunities in the first and failed to capitalise, Lille showed their mettle in the second and dominated play.
Orsolya Hertzka, a summer signing from Eger, Hungary, scored a hat trick early on, and then Anna Kochetova, a former junior in Russia, buried a beautiful lob to make the score 7-2. Camelia Boloukbachi, who had received no service in the middle, dribbled toward the edge of the area and fired one past Mia Rycraw to complete her hat trick before halftime.
Mulhouse gained some self-assurance in the third and exerted pressure for an extended stretch of time. Le Roux and Forgacs broke through Lille’s solid defence, but Mia Rycraw was there to help keep her team ahead by a safe margin.
Three different scorers from three different countries (Meijer, Netherlands, Deike, Germany, Hertzka, Hungary) gave Lille a 10-5 heading into the last quarter.
Rycraw made an outstanding save from a one-on-one with Vivian Kretzmann-Bahia in the fourth quarter that ended any chance, if it existed, of a Mulhouse revival.
But Mulhouse was determined to end on a high. A wonderful extra-player move gave Camelia Bouloukbachi her fourth of the match, following up from a deflected effort that crept in past Rycraw from former UVSE right-side attacker, Lili Forgacs.
Grand Nancy have finished third in the French Cup, defeating an extremely underwhelming Nice 10-7.
In an encouraging and spirited victory for Nancy, they were largely untroubled by a very one-dimensional Nice side. Nancy rode their luck in parts of the game, but with Nice failing to really put the hammer down and sustain any sort of threat, Nancy saw the game out without too much trouble.
Former Concepcion attacker, Sandra Pacheco-Herce netted twice for Nancy, supported by crucial double-scores from Lucie Fanara and Alicia Gabriele (pictured).
Olympic Nice 7 – 10 Grand Nancy (3-3, 1-2, 1-3, 2-2)
Nice: M. Chabrier, L. Vernoux, B. Van de Velde 2, J. Kohli, K. Noy 1, A. Grass, M. Barbieux, V. Tamas 1, E. Vernoux 2, L. Di Fraja, S. Amcher, I. Di Bartolo, C. Vidal, L. Lottero
Nancy: L. Council, A. Sabouriat 1, C. Moreira, C. Hanzo, L. Bachelier 1, P. Vizcarra, S. Pacheco-Herce 2, L. Fanara 2, K. Benlekbir 1, A. Gabriele 2, P. Martineuad-Peret
Marko Damjanovic will have been more than satisfied with how his team started in the contest, ending the first eight minutes on a parity . The Montenegrin coach saw Spaniard Sandra Pacheco convert two penalties, before Olympic hopeful Kahena Benlekbir registered from inside the 5m zone.
Nancy continued to add to their tally (Bachelier and Sabouriaut) and were largely unchallenged throughout the second quarter. Nice had a poor eight minutes of play, and they were lucky to even score one goal. However, they did eventually score courtesy of Israeli Kerem Noy’s powerful penalty strike, just before the break.
Ema Vernoux’s deadly cross-cage attempt brought Nice within a single-score on a well-crafted extra-player move, but Nancy responded with two quick-fire scores. Alicia Gabriele added her brace before Mexico International Paola Vizcarra delivered a crushing finish on the third-quarter buzzer (5-8).
Blom Van de Velde’s thunderbolt brought Nice back within two scores early in the last sector of the match, but Lucie Fanara (Nancy) netted twice in a minute, the second of which was a very fortunate shot that ricocheted off Chloe Vidal’s head, sending Grand Nancy into double digits (10-6).
Attacking opportunities came and went for Nice, but time was not on their side. As per the whole game, their attack was too static and one-dimensional. Relying on a bit of quality, like Ema Vernoux’s lob, was perhaps Nice’s best route to try and salvage something from the game, but it simply wasn’t attainable.
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