Ekipe Orizzonte (Italy), the most successful female water polo club in Europe, added a new trophy to its treasury. Orizzonte, eight-time Euro League (Champions Cup) winner, lifted the LEN Trophy, after a hard-fought win over UVSE Budapest (HUN) in the final. The Final Four was played in Kirishi (Russia). Host Kinef Kirishi clinched the bronze medal, Sant Andreu (Spain) finished 4th.
A year ago, Orizzonte and UVSE faced in the Euro League Final Four tournament’s bronze medal match (also in Kirishi), now they played for the LEN Trophy. Both times the Catania-based side celebrated after a thrilling encounter (last season they won in the penalty shootout). This time, it was 10:9.
Orizzonte had a 6:4 lead at halftime. The Italians maintained their lead until the fourth period when Gabriella Szucs equalized (8:8). However, Valeria Palmieri put away an extra immediately for 9:8. Roberta Bianconi scored her 3rd goal from an extra for 10:8 with 57 seconds remaining on the clock. Kiley Neushul netted from a 6 on 4 for the final score (10:9) only 4 seconds before the last buzzer.
Orizzonte coach Martina Miceli became the first winning female coach in the LEN Trophy (and the second at the European stage after Alexia Kammenou led Vouliagmeni to Champions Cup triumphs in 2010 and 2011).
LEN Trophy 2018/19 Final Four
Orizzonte 12:8 Sant Andreu
(4:1, 2:2, 3:2, 3:3)
Ekipe Orizzonte: Garibotti 2, Bianconi 2, Aiello 2, Palmieri 2, Marletta 2, Van der Sloot, Ioannou.
CN Sant Andreu: Sleeking 4, Crespi 3, Morell.
Kinef 8:10 UVSE
(2:3, 3:3, 1:1, 2:3)
Kinef-Surgutneftegas: Prokofyeva 2, Zubkova, Simanovich, Krimer, Khamzaeva, Soboleva, Ivanova.
UVSE Budapest: Keszthelyi 4, Farago 2, Parkes, Secenich, Rybanska, Paul.
Sant Andreu 11:15 Kinef
(0:5, 2:4, 4:4, 5:2)
CN Sant Andreu:Keuning 5, Pena, Gual, Morell, Jackovich, Sleeking, Palacio.
Kinef-Surgutneftegas: Prokofyeva 3, Krimer 2, Kzamzaeva 2, Soboleva 2, Ivanova 2, Ryzhkova 2, Diachenko, Simanovich.
Orizzonte 10:9 UVSE
(2:3, 4:1, 2:3, 2:2)
Ekipe Orizzonte: Bianconi 3, Riccioli 2, Aiello, Palmieri, MArletta, Van der Sloot, Koolhass.
UVSE Budapest: Szucs 3, Neushul, Antal, Parkes, Keszthelyi, Farago, Kiss.