Women's Super Final 2014, Day 3: USA and Italy emerged as group-winners

World League

The United States and Italy won the respective groups after offering great performances on the third day. Italy came up with an amazing finish against Australia, a 4-0 rush in the last 2:13 minutes – the winner came at 0:04 – gave them a well-deserved win. In the battle of the champions the Olympic title-holder, Team USA, upended the World champion Spaniards, shutting them out in the second half.

Canada and Russia produced a flood of goals with the North Americans prevailing and China won their first match in Kunshan, much to the joy of the home crowd.

Game 9, 15.00, Group B: Italy vs. Australia 11-10
Quarters: 3-1, 1-2, 1-5, 6-2
Referees: Marie-Claude Desliere (CAN), Mark Koganov (AZE)

ITALY: Giulia Gorlero, Federica Radicchi 2, Arianna Garibotti 1, Elisa Queirolo 1, Silvia Motta, Rosaria Aiello, Tania di Mario 3, Roberta Bianconi 3, Guilia Emmolo 1, Valeria Palmieri, Aleksandra Cotti, Teresa Frassinetti, Laura Teani (GK). Head coach: Fabio Conti.
AUSTRALIA: Lilan Hedges, Eliesha Browne, Hannah Buckling, Jayde Appel 1, Bronte Halugan, Bronwen Knox 1, Rowie Webster 3, Glencora McGhie 3, Bronte Colenso, Ashleigh Southern 1, Jessica Zimmerman, Keesja Gofers 1, Kelsey Wakefield (GK). Head coach: Greg McFadden.

Italy: 7 for 12
Australia: 3 for 5

Italy: 0 for 1
Australia: 1 for 1

It was quite a game to start the day off with: unbelievable twists and turns, especially in the second half. Italy jumped to a 3-1 lead, netting three extras in a row. They were still 4-3 up at the middle break, even though they began to miss their chances, including a penalty and two man-ups. The following three misses were costly, the Aussies scored three straight goals and added two more from outside shots toward the end of the third and led 5-8. When Gofers scored from a counter for 7-10 with 3:08 remaining on the clock, the Australians seemed to have secured the top spot in the group. But at the best moment the "Setterosa" put together their play in 6 on 5, they buried three straight extras in 80 seconds as the Australians tried to prevent their counters in vain. With 47 seconds to go it was 10-10, the Aussies had an attack after a time-out, it didn’t work, what’s more they committed a terrible mistake of not taking care of the Italians fast-breaking players who set up a 2 on 1 and Queirolo finished it off with 4 seconds before the end. Italy had a 4-0 rush in 2:13 minutes – worthy of clinching the first place of the group.

Game 10, 16.30, Group A: Spain vs. United States 5-8
Quarters: 2-1, 3-4, 0-2, 0-1
Referees: Nicola Johnson (AUS), Ursula Wengenroth (SUI)

SPAIN: Laura Ester, Marta Bach, Anna Espar, Roser Tarrago 1, Matile Ortiz, Jennifer Pareja 2, Lorena Miranda, Pilar Pena, Andrea Blas, Ona Meseguer, Carmen Garcia 1, Laura Lopez 1, Patricia Herrera (GK). Head coach: Miguel Oca.
USA: Samantha Hill, Alys Williams, Melissa Seidemann 1, Rachel Fattal 1, Caroline Clark 1, Maggie Steffens, Makenzie Fischer, Kiley Neushul 2, Jillian Kraus, Kaleigh Gilchirst 2, Annike Dries 1, Kameryn Craig, Elizabeth Keeve (GK). Head coach: Adam Krikorian.

Spain: 3 for 7
USA: 2 for 5

Spain: 1 for 1
USA: 0 for 1

It was a balanced game until halftime, the Spaniards buried their extras (3/3) and put away the penalty, the US missed three man-ups but scored some splendid action goals (four in the first half) so they stood 5-5. The trends started to change in the second half as the World champions started to miss their extras (in fact they had 0/4 in the remaining of the match) while the Olympic title-holder Americans were superior at both ends of the field. Even though we saw a rare mistake from Fattal at 5-5 – missed a penalty as the ball fell out of her hand –, this didn’t cause any setback on the US side. A fine man-up goal from Seidemann and Gilchirs’s hit from a counter put them on the right track and Neushul’s 6m blast early in the fourth period decided the outcome as the Spanish were unable to get closer – in fact, they remained scoreless in the entire second half.

Game 11, 18.00, Group A: Canada vs. Russia 14-12

Quarters: 4-3, 3-4, 2-3, 5-2
Referees: Dion Willis (RSA), Toshio Fukumoto (JPN)

CANADA: Nicola Colterjohn, Krystina Alogbo 1, Katrina Monton 1, Alexa Tielmann, Monika Eggens 2, Emma Wright 1, Joelle Bekhazi 3, Axelle Crevier 1, Carmen Eggens 3, Christine Robinson 1, Elyse Lemay-Lavoie, Shae Fournier 1, Jessica Gaudreauit (GK). Head coach: Guy Baker.
RUSSIA: Anastasia Verkhoglyadova, Olga Trotskaya, Ekaterina Prokofyeva 2, Elvina Karimova 1, Kseniia Krimer, Valeriia Kolmakova, Nadezhda Iarondaykina 3, Evgeniia Khokhriakova, Anna Timofeeva 1, Anna Grineva 1, Evgeniya Ivanova 3, Ekaterina Zelentsova 1, Anna Karnaukh (GK). Head coach: Mikhail Nakoriakov.

Canada: 2 for 5
Russia: 5 for 5

Canada: 1 for 1
Russia: –

Joelle Bekhazi scored probably the fastest hat-trick in the history of the Super Finals, she netted three goals in 63 seconds, giving Canada a 3-0 lead after the first three attacks. The Russians might have got used to this scenario, they were in a similar situation a day before against Spain but managed to come back, even from deeper trouble (from 2-8 and won in the penalty shootout). They didn’t seem to become too tense this time either, bounced back again, and took the lead in the middle of the second period at 4-5. However, the Canadians were also up to the task, and the match turned into a shooting parade, and it was quite unpredictable which goalie could make a save at least. The Russians went ahead again, led 7-9 and were still in a slightly better position before the last period (9-10). But they ran out of gas a bit in the fourth – played with only three substitutions (two got sick during the previous night) –, the Canadians created some fine chances and converted them spectacularly. For a while it seemed Russia might face the third shootout in three days but their defence collapsed under the pressure.

Game 12, 19.30, Group B: China vs. Brazil 9-6
Quarters: 5-1, 2-3, 1-0, 1-2
Referees: Danielle Dabbaghian (USA), J. F. Buch (ESP)

CHINA: Yang Jun, Li Shujin 1, Liu Ping, Sun Yujun 2, Yiong Dunhan, Sun Yating 1, Song Donglun 1, Zhang Cong 1, Zhao Zihan 2, Tian Jianing, Wang Xinyan 1, Niu Guangnan, Peng Lin (GK). Head coach: Rick Azevedo.
BRAZIL: Oliveira Tess, Cecilia Canetti, Marina Zablith, Marina Canetti 2, Lucianne Barroncas, Izabella Chiappini 1, Amanda Oliveria, Luiza Carvalho 1, Flavia Vigna, Melani Dias 2, Viviane Bahia, Diana Abla, Victoria Chamorro. Head coach: Patrick Oaten.

China: 4 for 6
Brazil: 1 for 8

China: 1 for 2
Brazil: –

China survived a minor scare in the middle of the fourth period and won their first match on home soil, to the joy of the hundreds in the stands. The hosts were in full control for most of the time, quickly gained a 4-0 lead in the opening period and maintained their massive lead until the end of the third. Though they seemed to lose some speed as scored a single goal in that quarter (and missed a penalty). The Brazilians fought bravely, netted some fine action goals, and even if they missed most of their man-ups when they put away the first in the fourth that brought them really close in the middle of the fourth (8-6). They even had another 6 on 5 but it was similar to the majority of their setting-ups (didn’t even take a shot) and Yujun’s counter goal neutralised the excitements.