Water Polo Women, Day 1: ESP 14 NED 12
Olympic silver medallist Spain overcame the persistent Netherlands in a stirring match that had the large crowd on the edge of its seat. The win was largely due to the 5-1 second quarter and the brilliance of Anna Espar and Pilar Pena, who scored three goals apiece.
With Dutch head coach Mauro Maugeri sitting out the match on suspension for a red card gained in the 2013 FINA World League, his assistant Arno Havenga took the reins. It looked a good move as the Dutch, Olympic champions five years ago, sprang to a three-goal lead. This was trimmed to 4-2 at the first break.
Spurred on by a screaming home crowd, the Spanish fired in five unanswered goals from five different players for a 7-4 lead. Captain Yasemin Smit nailed her third goal for the Dutch with a bouncer into the top of the net to turn at 7-5.
Stern words were spoken by both coaches in the long break, while the Aqua Troupe, dressed in old-fashioned bathing costumes and armed with water pistols and parasols, entertained the crowd with “Singing in the Rain”.
Netherlands three times dragged the game back to one goal in the third quarter only for Spain to take a 10-8 advantage when Andrea Blas scored from two metres. Havenga earned a yellow card for appealing to the referee over the awarding of the goal.
It was a one-goal game again when Smit scored her fourth from five attempts. Spain went 12-9 ahead, Netherlands responded on a timeout ploy for 12-10 at 2:23 but time was running out for the Dutch. It proved so as Espar scored off a rebound for 13-10 at 1:42 after an extra-man chance went begging. It was 2013 Olympic All Star team member Espar’s third goal and probably, most precious.
Klaassen narrowed the margin to two but Roser Tarrago scored her second of the period for an unbeatable 14-11 at 0:23, leaving the Dutch with a timeout and 10 seconds later a third goal for Klaassen and 14-12.
Match 1: 21:30, Group A, SPAIN 14 NETHERLANDS 12
Quarters: 2-4, 5-1, 3-3, 4-4
Referees: Mario Bianchi (ITA), Axel Bender (GER)
Extra Man: ESP: 2/5. NED: 3/7.
Pens: ESP: 0/1.
SPAIN: Laura Ester, Marta Bach, Anna Espar (3), Roser Tarrago (2), Matilda Ortiz, Jennifer Pareja (1), Lorena Miranda (1), Pilar Pena (3), Andrea Blas (2), Ona Meseguer (1), Maica Garcia, Laura Lopez (1), Patricia Herrera. Head Coach: Miguel Oca.
NETHERLANDS: Ilse van der Meijden, Yasemin Smit (4), Marloes Nijhuis, Biurakin Hakverdian, Sabrina van der Sloot, Nomi Stomphorst (1), Iefke van Belkum (2), Vivian Sevenich (2), Carolina Slagter, Dagmar Genee, Lieke Klaassen (3), Leonie van der Molen, Anne Heinis. Head Coach: Arno Havenga.
Jennifer Pareja (ESP):
“It was a difficult game, and it was difficult for us to win. At the beginning we were losing but we came back. It’s important to start with a victory.”
Laura Ester (ESP):
“We were so nervous at the first moment. It was hard at the beginning. The objective now is to be the first of our group, and we will go step by step. The public tonight was amazing.”
Miki Oca (ESP Head Coach):
“It was important to win the first match. The first match has been very hard at the beginning. The participation of all the team was really important and as a result a lot of players scored a goal. The Netherlands played great.”
Sabrina van der Sloot (NED):
“We started really well, but Spain was really aggressive and we let them go. To play the first game against Spain was very exciting because it’s a really good team. ”
Ilse van der Meijden (NED):
“We started strong but finally Spain won the match. If we had made less mistakes in the personal game probably it wouldn’t have been like this.”
Vivian Sevenich (NED):
“We haven’t had a really good championship start. It was a hard game against Spain.”
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