The final match of the Women’s European Junior Water Polo Championship in Novi Sad saw Spain defeat the Netherlands, while Hungary prevailed over Greece and won bronze. Italy convincingly defeated Great Britain and finished 5th, while host Serbia lost to Russia in the match for the 7th place.
Russian ladies proved too strong for the hosting team and recorded an emphatic 17:6 win. They achieved a four-goal advantage in the first period leaving the hosting team scoreless and raised it to six by the middle of the second quarter. Then Serbia woke up and scored its first goal, but only managed to add one more until halftime, while Russia increased the lead to seven (9:2). All doubts about who would be the winner were eliminated as the difference was just getting bigger. Russia was led by Anastasiia Shiryaeva who scored five goals, and Serbia’s top scorer was Nina Josifovic with three.
Italy clinched the 5th place with no trouble as it convincingly defeated Great Britain, 16:5. Italian ladies dominated the entire game leaving their rival no chance for threatening. They went ahead 4:1 in the first period and went on a break with a six-goal lead (9:3). Everything was clear at that point and the British squad was unable to bring down the deficit. Led by Lucrezia Cergol who netted five goals, Italy completely overpowered Great Britain which only scored a pair in the second half.
The bronze medal match saw Hungary triumph over Greece, 9:8, after a brilliant comeback. In an exciting duel, Maria Myriokefalitaki quickly netted an opener for Greece. Even though Luca Katica Petovary responded in a little while, Eleni Kanetidou again put Greece in the lead three minutes before the end of the first quarter (2:1). Greece then scored two unanswered goals in the second period and had a three-goal advantage at halftime (4:1). In the third period, Hungary brought down the deficit to two on two occasions, but Greece kept on increasing it to three. However, during the final minutes of that quarter, Hungary was down by one thanks to Borbala Kekesi’s goal, while Janka Kata Utassy netted an equalizer in the 53 seconds before the last period (6:6). Hungary kept its game on point and prevented Greece from equalizing, although they managed to decrease the difference to one on two occasions. Anna Ioulia Kontoni scored the last goal for Greece with 6 seconds left on the clock, so it was obvious that her team will have to be satisfied with the 4th spot.
In the final match, Spanish ladies also recorded a narrow 11:10 victory over the Netherlands. Spain controlled the entire game, whereas the Dutch squad constantly kept parity and was able to take over the lead on two occasions. Spain took the first lead after Alejandra Aznar’s goal, but Simone Van De Kraats tied the results a few minutes later. Spanish squad then achieved a two-goal advantage, but Netherlands was again down by one at the end of the first quarter (3:2). The second quarter saw the teams take turns in scoring and Spain went on a break with minimum advantage (6:5). Afterward, the Dutch ladies stepped up their game, equalized the result for the second time and even went ahead 8:6, but Spain stroke back and the teams entered the final period tied (8:8). The crucial quarter was as exciting as the previous three. However, Spain eventually prevailed over the Netherlands and managed to preserve the one-goal advantage achieved by Andrea Arias with three and a half minutes left on the clock.
Women’s European Junior Water Polo Championship (Novi Sad, Serbia)
Day 8 – August 27
Netherlands 10:11 Spain
(2:3, 3:3, 3:2 2:3)
Hungary 9:8 Greece
(1:2, 0:2, 5:2, 3:2)
Great Britain 5:16 Italy
(1:4, 2:4, 2:3, 0:4)
Serbia 6:17 Russia
(0:4, 2:5, 3:4, 1:4)
Final Rankings: 1. Spain, 2. Netherlands, 3. Hungary, 4. Greece, 5. Italy, 6. Great Britain, 7. Russia, 8. Serbia, 9. Slovakia, 10. Israel, 11. Bulgaria, 12. France, 13. Turkey, 14. The Czech Republic, 15. Romania, 16. Portugal