Women's Super Final, Day 1: Italy stuns China thanks to impressive Silvia Motta

World League

Italy stunned the Chinese side on the opening day thanks to the outstanding individual effort of Silvia Motta who scored 5 goals, 4 of them within 4:30 minutes in the third period.

The big clash of the day between the USA and Russia ended in a penalty shootout with the US prevailing. Spain managed to pull off a tight win over Canada while Australia was too strong for Brazil.

Game 1, 15.00, Group A: Spain vs. Canada 6-5

Quarters: 3-3, 1-0, 2-1, 0-1
Referees: Nicola Johnson (AUS), Ursula Wengenroth (SUI)

SPAIN: Laura Ester, Marta Bach, Anna Espar 2, Roser Tarrago, Matile Ortiz, Jennifer Pareja 1, Lorena Miranda, Pilar Pena 1, Andrea Blas, Ona Meseguer, Carmen Garcia 2, Laura Lopez, Patricia Herrera (GK). Head coach: Miguel Oca.
CANADA: Nicola Colterjohn, Krystina Alogbo, Katrina Monton 1, Alexa Tielmann, Monika Eggens 1, Emma Wrigth, Joelle Bekhazi 1, Axelle Crevier, Carmen Eggens 1, Christine Robinson 1, Elyse Lemay-Lavoie, Shae Fournier, Jessica Gaudreauit (GK). Head coach: Guy Baker.

Spain: 5 for 8
Canada: 2 for 7

Spain: –
Canada: 0 for 1

Spain took a flying start putting away the first two man-ups for 2-0 but the Canadians responded well and came back to 3-3 by the end of the first period. The turning point came in the third quarter when Espar’s long range blast bounced in from the crossbar giving Spain a 6-4 lead with 3:37 to go. On the other end Canada earned a penalty but Bekhazi’s ball crashed the bar and this time it hit the water in front of the goal line. Though Canada managed to score deep into the fourth after recovering the ball in a dying extramen and Monton’s backhanded shot from the centre found the back of the net. But they couldn’t score the equaliser as Ester came up with some fine saves including a great one in a man-down.

Game 2, 16.30, Group B: Australia vs. Brazil 12-5

Quarters: 3-2, 3-0, 3-2, 3-1
Referees: Danielle Dabbaghian (USA), Arkadiy Voevodin (RUS)

AUSTRALIA: Lilan Hedges, Eliesha Browne, Hannah Buckling 2, Jayde Appel, Bronte Halugan, Bronwen Knox 3, Rowie Webster 4, Glencora McGhie 1, Bronte Colenso 1, Ashleigh Southern, Jessica Zimmerman, Keesja Gofers 1, Kelsey Wakefield (GK). Head coach: Greg McFadden.
BRAZIL: Oliveira Tess, Cecilia Canetti, Marina Zablith, Marina Canetti, Lucianne Barroncas, Izabella Chiappini 2, Amanda Oliveria, Luiza Carvalho, Flavia Vigna, Melani Dias 1, Viviane Bahia 1, Diana Abla 1, Victoria Chamorro. Head coach: Patrick Oaten.

Australia: 5 for 9
Brazil: 3 for 7

Australia: 1 for 1
Brazil: –

It’s become an easy cruise for the Aussies by the middle of the second quarter. In the first they scored three action goals from three attacks in 62 seconds (3-0) but lack of concentration took its toll towards the end of the opening period and Brazil came back for 3-2. But the Aussies didn’t commit the same mistake in the second, managed to net three goals again but they tightened their defence and shut out the Brazilians in this quarter. They maintained their level of scoring – 3 goals in each period –, Webster (4 goals) and Knox (3) were the frontrunners, while the Brazilians couldn’t cope with the strength of their rivals, though managed to capitalise on some rare scoring opportunities.

Game 3, 18.00, Group B: United States vs. Russia 6-6, penalties: 5-4

Quarters: 1-1, 1-2, 1-1, 3-2
Referees: Meng Anlong (CHN), Mario Bianchi (ITA)

USA: Samantha Hill, Alys Williams, Melissa Seidemann, Rachel Fattal 1, Caroline Clark, Maggie Steffens 3, Makenzie Fischer, Kiley Neushul 2, Jillian Kraus, Kaleigh Gilchirst, Annike Dries, Kameryn Craig, Elizabeth Keeve (GK). Head coach: Adam Krikorian.
RUSSIA: Anastasia Verkhoglyadova, Olga Trotskaya, Ekaterina Prokofyeva 1, Elvina Karimova 2, Kseniia Krimer 1, Valeriia Kolmakova, Nadezhda Iarondaykina, Evgeniia Khokhriakova 1, Anna Timofeeva, Anna Grineva 1, Evgeniya Ivanova, Ekaterina Zelentsova, Anna Karnaukh (GK). Head coach: Mikhail Nakoriakov.

USA: 1 for 3
Russia: 2 for 5

The third game brought the first penalty shootout of the tournament – in fact, it was an encounter of equal sides so it was the best way to decide the outcome. For most of the time Russia was in the lead (never by two) in this low-scoring match which saw only 8 exclusions and tremendous efforts from the defences. The goalies were excellent, scoring was a real challenge. The fourth period provided some thrilling moments, Russia went in front again at 4-5 but the US managed to equalise again, what’s more, Steffen’s third hit of the afternoon gave them a 6-5 lead with 1:42min remaining on the clock. But the Russians weren’t done and Grineva could score with 12 seconds to go from a nicely set up action – Hill seemed to have made a tremendous save but the goal judge signed she had caught the ball behind the line.

The first round of the penalties saw one miss apiece, then Neushul put away the sixth one for the US while Hill managed to stop Krimer’s shot again (two out of two) earning two points for her side.

Game 4, 19.30, Group A: Italy vs. China 12-9

Quarters: 3-3, 3-3, 4-2, 2-1
Referees: Mark Koganov (AZE), Marie-Claude Desliere (CAN)

ITALY: Giulia Gorlero, Federica Radicchi, Arianna Garibotti 1, Elisa Queirolo, Silvia Motta 5, Rosaria Aiello, Tania di Mario 1, Roberta Bianconi 3, Guilia Emmolo 1, Valeria Palmieri 1, Aleksandra Cotti, Teresa Frassinetti, Laura Teani (GK). Head coach: Fabio Conti.
CHINA: Yang Jun, Li Shulin, Liu Ping 1, Sun Yujun 2, Yiong Dunhan, Sun Yating, Song Donglun 1, Zhang Cong 2, Zhao Zihan 3, Tian Jianing, Wang Xinyan, Niu Guangnan, Peng Lin (GK). Head coach: Rick Azevedo.

Italy: 2 for 4
China: 1 for 5

Italy: 1 for 2
China: 1 for 1

The first half brought as many goals as the previous match in full time. A series of long-range shots hit the net at both ends, the capacity crowd saw 11 action goals in the first two periods. The first quarter was quite balanced then Italy opened the second with a 3-0 rush in 2:55 minutes so China’s head coach Rick Azevedo had to call for an ‘emergency’ time-out. It was useful as the home side also came up with three straight goals while Italy missed a penalty in the meantime (at 6-5) – much to the joy of the 1,500 spectators. However, Silvia Motta stole the show in the third, as she scored 4 goals (three from action) in 4:30 minutes, while the Chinese seemed to struggle with creating shooting chances for most of the time, and Italy managed to maintain the 2-3 goals gap and earned a well-deserved win.