There were two exciting contests this morning on the opening day of the Women’s World League Super Finals in Tenerife.
The reigning champions, the United States, showed that they are still top dogs with a clinical display over a disappointing Dutch side. In the second game, in Group B, Hungary secured that much needed, all-important first win of their tournament, in a gritty clash against Australia.
Canada and Italy play later in Group A, while the hosts Spain kickstart their World League campaign against Group B underdogs New Zealand.
Netherlands 6-9 United States, Match Report
The United States opened the World League Super Finals in Tenerife with a solid 6-9 victory over the Netherlands this morning. Neither team was at their scintillating best, but Team USA was well-worth the victory.
The Americans could once again rely on a stellar defensive display. Their low-block saw them practically defending at times with four players on the 2m line to counter the threat of the Dutch centres. When they needed to press, they were unrelenting. Going forward, there were some devastatingly clinical finishes from the likes of Jordan Raney (2), Jenna Flynn (2) and Jewel Roemer (2), while Ashleigh Johnson saved a penalty from Simone Van de Kraats in the third period at a potentially important point in the game
As such was the pressure from the reigning World and Olympic champions, a slightly disjointed Dutch side struggled to build any sort of momentum going forward. Their centres produced some excellent moments of magic, including earning three penalties, but the team as a whole was apprehensive and second-guessed themselves in front of goal. Once they trailed by three goals in the second quarter, they never really looked like coming back, even despite a decent last quarter.
Netherlands 6-9 United States (2-3, 0-2, 2-3, 2-1)
Netherlands: S. Buis, I. Wolves, B. Sleeking 1, F. Bosveld, M. Keuning 1, S. Van de Kraats, B. Rogge 1, V. Sevenich 1, N. De Vries, M. Van der Weijden, L. Moolhuijzen 2, N. Ten Broek, B. van den Dobbelsteen
United States: A. Johnson, E. Ausmus, T. Prentice, R. Fattal 1, J. Flynn 2, H. Shabb, J. Roemer 2, R. Neushul 1, D. Mammolito, E. Woodhead, B. Weber 2, J. Raney 2, A. Longan
The game lacked a bit of quality and finesse in the first, but both teams had the sort of intensity you would expect from a game of this nature. Jordan Raney opened the scoring for the United States, but the Americans were uncharacteristically sloppy in their defence when they left Maartje Keuning unmarked on 2m, who was picked out well by Brigitte Sleeking to make it 1-1.
The States then added two goals throughout the quarter though to build a mini-cushion; eighteen-year-old Jenna Flynn rifled home a powerful shot past Sarah Buis from the perimeter before Bente Rogge was caught on the wrong side of the youngest player at the tournament, Emily Ausmus, giving Ryann Neushul her first goal of the game from a 5-metre penalty.
The Dutch, though, managed to grab a goal with three seconds left in the quarter, and it was their biggest threat in the game, Mataro’s Vivian Sevenich, who expertly guided home a precise backshot into the bottom right-hand corner of Ashleigh Johnson’s goal.
While the United States might have felt that they deserved a bit more of a cushion going into the second quarter, they reflected their control in the second period by building a three-goal lead before halftime. Rachel Fattal peeled away from her defender on the 2 metre line to slot past Buis, before Jenna Flynn finished off a slick and sharp move for the Americans with an authoritative cross-court shot.
The United States continued to strangle the Dutch in the third period, with clinical finishes from both wings by Jewel Roemer on the left and Jordan Raney on the right. The Oranges just couldn’t fight on the multiple fronts of dealing with a strong centre and attacking threats all across the perimeter.
Eva Doudesis could see his team falling away, and a well-judged timeout gave his team some much-needed mouth-to-mouth in the game, with De Zaan’s Bente Rogge converting. However, his opposite number, Adam Krikorian, had the same idea, and twenty seconds of intense pressure led the ball to fall at the hands of Jewel Roemer, who delicately dinked the ball over Britt van den Dobbelsteen (3-8).
Moolhuijzen did pull one back, with Ashleigh Johnson perhaps culpable for a rare mistake in goal, but Team USA had all the momentum going into the last, when Johnson showed outstanding athleticism to keep out a late Simone Van de Kraats penalty.
The Dutch began to look more dangerous in the final eight minutes of the game. Some excellent work in the bucket by Iris Wolves and Vivian Sevenich bought the Dutch two more 5m penalty opportunities, which were converted emphatically by Lola Moolhuijzen (her second goal of the game) and GZC Donk’s Brigitte Sleeking.
But the United States punctured their Dutch energy via a quick extra-player move, with USC’s Bayley Weber finishing coolly from close-range to seal the points.
Australia 7-9 Hungary, Match Report
Hungary will be relieved to have secured a victory against Australia in their World League Super Finals opener.
Late in the game, the Magyars showed a composure that has perhaps been lacking recently to overcome a Stingers side that, despite really strong spells in the game, didn’t quite have the conviction to put Hungary down when they had the chance. While Hungary deserved the win on the balance of play, Paul Oberman will know that this was a bit of a missed opportunity for his side.
Rita Keszthelyi scored three important goals for her side, while Zsuszanna Mate grabbed a brace – with both goals coming at important times in the game.
It was a sluggish start for the Stingers, but that didn’t necessarily cost them. They worked their way into the game and took a deserved lead in the third period. There was a bit of inexperience when the game was in balance; with Hungary turning the ball over too easily, and picking the Stingers off on the counter.
As expected, Bronte Halligan led on the goal-scoring front with a hat-trick, while Charlize and Abby Andrews both converted on two occasions each.
Australia 7 – 9 Hungary (1-2, 2-2, 2-1, 2-4)
Australia: G. Palm, R. Swadling, T. Fasala, B. Halligan 3, B. Leeson-Smith, A. Andrews 2, C. Andrews 2, A. Ridge, Z. Arancini, A. Williams, T. Kearns, H. Ballesty, G. Longman
Hungary: A. Magyari, D. Szilagyi, V. Valyi 1, G. Gurisatti 1, G. Mahieu, R. Parkes 2, Z. Mate 2, R. Keszthelyi-Nagy 3, D. Leimeter, K. Hajdu, P. Pocze, K. Garda, B. Neszmely
Hungary took advantage of a lethargic Australian start. Rebecca Parkes converted after finding space on 2m, while Rita Keszthelyi-Nagy re-announced herself to Attila Biro’s line-up with a jaw-dropping shot off the bar and in from range.
As the quarter went on, though, the Stingers found their footing in the game. The Hungarians sat in well defensively, but the Stingers eventually found their first goal of the game: Ethnikos’ Charlize Andrews poked home well off Bronte Halligan’s floated ball to the back post.
Hungary still had a one-goal lead going into the second half (4-3), but the game was becoming slightly more stretched, which seemed to benefit the Hungarians. Vanda Valyi twice put her side on the front-foot with key steals, finishing off a goal for herself on the right, while Rita Keszthelyi-Nagy did well to tuck the ball under Gabi Palm’s left arm. With a long-range shot, Bronte Halligan capped off a patient Stingers sequence. Charlize Andrews’ second goal of the game came on the breakaway on the left-side.
The third period saw a marked shift in momentum as Australia really started to impose themselves. SIS Roma’s left-hander Abby Andrews levelled the game at 4-4 with a nice power shot on the right, before Australia, very fortunately took the lead when Bronte Halligan’s penalty hit the bar, and then the back of Alda Magyari’s head, before squirming in.
Hungary hit the woodwork twice in the period, with Greta Gurisatti and Vanda Valyi both seeing their shots bounce back off the post. Zsuszanna Mate hit the post a third time, but this time the angle was favourable, as the ball rocketed past Gabi Palm at the near-side for 5-5.
While the Aussies had energy and looked to really assert themselves physically on the Hungarians, Attila Biro’s team showed a little bit of experience in the last quarter, taking a bit more of a measured approach. Rebecca Parkes tucked away well off an overload on the left side before FTC’s Zsuszanna Mate gave Hungary a two-goal lead with a driven shot into the roof of the Stingers’ goal.
Significantly, the Stingers fell behind by three goals after Gurisatti scored on a two-on-one counterattack, and while Bronte Halligan momentarily gave the Stingers a lifeline, a Rita Keszthelyi-Nagy penalty, her third goal of the game, put Hungary back in control of the contest
An Abby Andrews driven shot from the right put Australia back within striking distance, but the Hungarians saw the game out well.
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