Netherlands triumph at W19 EHF Championship in Skopje
After making a powerful start in the Women's 19 EHF Championship in North Macedonia final against, the Netherlands held on in the second half to take a 26:23 win and the title.
With Sanna Van Galen and Catharina Molenaar both delivering outstanding performances for their team, the Netherlands established a clear lead midway through the first half.
Meanwhile, in the bronze medal match, Belarus beat the Faroe Islands 27:25 as Darya Vakulich scored seven goals for the winning team.
- for the Netherlands, Sanna Van Galen made 17 saves and Catharina Molenaar scored 11 goals from 15 shots
- Karolina Jurenczyk's was Poland's top scorer, but her seven goals came from 17 shots
- the Netherlands won five of their six matches at the championship
The Netherlands made a slow start in the semi-finals versus Belarus, trailing 7:2 after nine minutes, but they certainly did not repeat that mistake in the final against Poland. With a 4:0 on the back of two goals apiece from Catharina Molenaar and Pipy Wolfs, along with five saves from Sanna Van Galen, the Dutch team's bright start forced Poland to take an early timeout.
When Molenaar raced away on the fast break in the 24th minute to score her sixth goal of the game, the Netherlands had scored 14 goals from 17 shots and were ahead by nine goals for the first time.
As Poland continued to find it challenging to beat Van Galen at the start of the second half, the Netherlands remained in control after 42 minutes (21:13) and were seemingly cruising to victory.
Poland certainly made the match interesting in the last quarter, as they reduced the difference to 23:20 in the 52nd minute, but a late red card for Julia Niewiadomska did not help their cause. When Jessie de Ruit scored her fourth goal of the match – and her team's 26th goal – with just over two minutes, the Netherlands were assured of their victory.
BRONZE MEDAL MATCH
- Belarus's top scorer in the match, Darya Vakulich, was named as the best player
- Belarus won four matches from five played in North Macedonia
- Jana Mittún again impressed for the Faroe Islands, scoring nine goals from 10 shots
Belarus and the Faroe Islands both had less than 24 hours to recover from their semi-final disappointment, but Belarus had the theoretical advantage of having played first on Saturday.
In the first half, there was little to separated the teams until Belarus had a 4:0 run that took the score from to 6:7 to 10:7. Although the difference between the sides was only three goals at half-time, Belarus's shot percentage was 68 per cent after 30 minutes.
With Jana Mittún and Lea Simunardottir Lisberg leading the Faroe Islands in attack, they reduced the deficit to a solitary goal (21:20) in the 46th minute and then equalised at 25:25 in the 57th minute. Belarus had the final say, however, as Darya Vakulich seventh goal of the match put her side ahead again, before Yana Sotnikava added the clincher.
Placement matches (5-8)
Kosovo vs Finland 26:39 (7:19)
Iceland vs North Macedonia 32:30 (28:28) (16:13)
4th Faroe Islands
6th North Macedonia
9th Bosnia and Herzegovina
Goalkeeper: Rakul S. Wardum (Faroe Islands)
Left wing: Sara Minovska (North Macedonia)
Left back: Catharina Molenaar (Netherlands)
Centre back: Julia Niewiadomska (Poland)
Right back: Anasaiya Sivukhna (Belarus)
Right wing: Rakel Sara Elvarsdottir (Iceland)
Pivot: Fanny Reinikainen (Finland)
Best defender: Britt Maarschalkerweerd (Netherlands)
MVP: Catharina Molenaar (Netherlands)
Top Scorer: Jana Mittún (Faroe Islands – 44 goals)
We played great defence, especially in the first half, and that was key to our victory. We played a good tournament and I am very proud of the girls.