Sabadell has once again emerged victorious as the Spanish Champions, defeating Mataro in the playoff finals for a remarkable third successive season.
Claiming their 20th national championship, Sabadell triumphed over Mataro with a final score of 10-6, securing a 2-1 win in the thrilling final series.
In yet another composed showing, Sabadell demonstrated their icy resolve throughout the game. Judith Forca and Sabrina Van der Sloot proved instrumental, each delivering exceptional performances with four goals apiece. Mataro faced a relentless challenge from the hosts, who consistently denied them any easy opportunities and managed to convert crucial scores at the end of the second and third periods.
While both keepers were immense, special commendation must go to Laura Ester, who once again showed why she has been at the top of the game for over a decade. She made countless saves, including an important penalty save in the first quarter.
Sabadell’s triumph in the national finals adds to their illustrious season, firmly establishing them as champions of Spain and Europe, in addition to their victories in the Copa de la Reina and Copa Catalunya tournaments.
Mataro, unfortunately, experienced heartbreak once again in the national finals against Sabadell. This marks the eighth time the Maresme side has fallen to Sabadell in the Spanish finals. Despite their disappointment, Mataro cannot be faulted for their performance throughout the season, as they have challenged neck and neck alongside one of the most dominant women’s club teams in the history of the sport.
2022/23 Spanish Women’s League, play-offs, final
Astralpool Sabadell 10 – 6 CN Mataro (2-2, 3-2, 4-2, 1-0)
Sabadell: L. Ester, M. Ortiz, P. Leiton 1, S. Van der Sloot 4, I. Casado, M. Steffens, E. Ruiz, M. Garcia 1, J. Forca 3, B. Ortiz, N. Perez, I. Gonzalez, M. Carrasco.
Mataro: E. Sanchez, S. Morell, S. Van de Kraats 1, A. Gual, V. Sevenich, R. Keszthelyi-Nagy 2, C. Cambray, C. Nogue 1, S. Avegno 1, Q. Bertran, A. Espar 1, M. Claveria Murillo, E. Herrera.
A contest that started with the highest intensity, both sides hit the woodwork twice, and both teams saw extra-player attacks go awry. Sabadell certainly looked more composed but saw three shots saved brilliantly by Elena Sanchez.
It took some time before Mataro settled into the game, especially after Anni Espar saw her penalty saved, but it was Dani Ballart’s team that led 2-1 at the end of the first quarter, thanks to brilliant individual efforts from Silvia Avegno and Anni Espar.
Despite Mataro’s solid defensive work, they had no answer to Judith Forca early in the second quarter, with the Spanish sharp-shooter striking twice. Paula Leiton soon gave Sabadell a two-score cushion with an easy tap-in at the back post (4-2). Mataro soon levelled the score again thanks to powerful finishes from Keszthelyi and Van de Kraats, but the first half belonged to Sabadell, with Van der Sloot completing her brace on the right wing with 3 seconds left in the half.
The goals dried up for three minutes into the third period, but as soon as Mataro equalised twice (at 5-5 and 6-6), Sabrina Van der Sloot restored the home side’s lead.
Mataro was then dealt a devastating blow with a minute left in the quarter, as Sabadell found two gut-wrenching goals that completely sank the away side. The first was a customary finish from Maica Garcia, followed by Judith Forca raising the roof with a majestic goal from 7m with a single second on the clock (9-6).
With every second ebbing away, Sabadell was one step closer to the title. Dani Ballart’s team kept pushing but were caught short by Sabadell’s resolute defence. The player of the game proved to be the one who sealed the league title for Sabadell, with Forca capping off one of the games of her life with another score.
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