Olympiacos women are one step away from their holy grail: a tenth successive Greek League title.
For Olympiacos, it was business as usual as they dispatched Glyfada in both of the first two play-off semi-finals, showcasing the quality that has seen them dominate the league under the watchful eye of coach Aleksandar Ciric. Even an off-game in the second semi-final could not stop the Red-Whites, who secured a 13-11 win.
The big question now is, who will step up to challenge the dominant Olympiacos squad for the championship title?
Many thought it would be Vouliagmeni, but Ethnikos made a statement of intent with a majestic display against Vouliagmeni in the second semi-final clash, levelling up the semi-final series 1-1 with a 12-8 win.
Now, the battlefield is set for the ultimate clash between Vouliagmeni and Ethnikos (Thursday 11th May) to determine who will have the daunting task of attempting to dethrone Olympiacos and deny them their historic 10th successive league title.
2022/23 Greek Women’s League, play-offs, semi-finals
ANO Glyfada 11 – 13 Olympiacos (3-5, 3-4, 4-1, 1-3)
Glyfada: E. Karytsa, P. Ninou, T. Moustakaria 1, I. Wolves 4, E. Grigoropoulou, I. Ninou 2, E. Antoniadis, I. Kanellopoulou, I. Koolhaas, E. Fountontou 1, L. Katsoni, S. Kontogianni 3, K. Iiakopoulou, R. Kakaidi, A. Madenoglou
Olympiacos: C. Diamantopoulou, E. Plevritou, I. Chydirioti 1, N. Eleftheriadou 2, F. Tricha 1, E. Xenaki 4, C. Siouti, M. Plevritou, S. Santa, V. Plevritou 2, K. Christmas, M. Myriokefalitaki 3, I. Stamatopoulou, Z. Tjortzakaki, D. Drakotou
Ethnikos 12 – 8 NC Vouliagmeni (3-2, 4-4, 3-1, 2-1)
Ethnikos: E. Sotireli, A. Karampetsou 2, M. Borisova 3, V. Laskaridou, I. Kontoni, E. Beta, F. Chatzikyriakaki 2, A. Benekou 2, M. Rakitzi, E. Kanetidou, L. Benekou, C. Andrews 2, A. Bekri, E. Katsimpri 1, A. Klapsianou.
Vouliagmeni: M. Kotsioni, S. Kaiafa, D. Kalogeropoulou, E. Elliniadi 2, A. Giannopoulou, A. Ridge 3, E. Wright 3, K. Stratidaki, D. Andreadi, M. Mimidis, F. Angelidi, M. Patras, E. Markatseli, N. Krassa. 3
In a game that lacked the usual swagger of the reigning champions, Olympiacos still managed to secure a spot in the playoffs with a hard-fought 13-11 victory over Glyfada. Eleni Xenaki proved to be the difference maker, adding four goals to her already impressive tally of three from the previous match.
But the Red Whites seemed to take their foot off the pedal halfway through the game, allowing Glyfada to make a remarkable comeback. Iris Wolves of Glyfada put in an outstanding performance, bagging a hat-trick in the third quarter and helping her team level the score at 9-9 and then again at 10-10. But Xenaki stepped up when it mattered the most, scoring two crucial goals in the final quarter to secure the win for Olympiacos.
The win takes Olympiacos once more to the championship play-offs, and puts them in a strong position to claim their 10th consecutive title. The question now remains: who will stand in their way in the final?
Their fellow-finalists are yet unknown because Ethnikos bounced back in style to level their semi-final tie against Vouliagmeni with a 12-8 victory.
The Piraeus Blues put in a commanding performance in the second half of their match against Vouliagmeni to clinch their second win over the Nautical Club this season.
The defensive display from the Blues was rock-solid, and their attackers were clinical in front of the goal. Maria Borisova, Foivi Chatzikyriakaki, Alkistis Benekou, Charlize Andrews, and Ariadne Karampetsou all got on the scoresheet for the Blues.
Ethnikos looked like the team to beat in the first half, and showed signs of pulling away, leading by two goals on two occasions (6-4 and 7-4). Vouliagmeni, however, refused to go down without a fight and kept things tight at halftime (7-6). The Ethnikos defence tightened its grip in the second half, creating a three-goal lead by the end of the third quarter and extending it to four by the final whistle.
Ethnikos’s victory sets up a showdown between the two teams for the right to play for the national title on Thursday, May 11th.
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