United States of America overcame Greece 10-8 for its second youth crown after the 2014 victory. Greece completes a set of medals to go with 2012 gold and 2018 bronze. Hungary gained a second bronze in beating two-time medallist Italy 9-5. Spain defeated Australia 16-12 for fifth classification and Netherlands finished seventh, downing New Zealand 18-8.
1. United States of America
8. New Zealand
15. South Africa
29 Jenna Flynn (USA)
27 Lola Moolhuijzen (NED)
24 Millie Quin (NZL)
23 Aurora Longo (ITA)
23 Kata Hajdu (HUN)
23 Serena Browne (CAN)
23 Iva Rozic (CRO)
22 Jelena Butic (CRO)
21 Morena Leone (ITA)
20 Stefania Santa (GRE)
20 Haru Yamamoto (JPN)
Media All Star Team
Goalkeeper: Szonja Golopencza (HUN)
Serena Browne (CAN)
Jenna Flynn (USA)
Morena Leone (ITA)
Lola Moolhuijzen (NED)
Millie Quin (NZL)
Fonteini Tricha (GRE)
GREECE 8 UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 10
USA turned the tables on Greece after losing their third-day group clash 15-14. USA held most of the cards, was better on extra-man attack and converted two penalty goals to none. It was probably the difference in the match. From a 2-0 start, USA led 5-2 at the quarter, but lost the second period 4-1 to have the turnaround as a 6-6 draw. USA went 2-1 in the third after Greece drew at seven. After nearly eight minutes over the three-quarter break, Emily Ausmus (USA) scored her second with a sedate shot from the right on extra. Greece immediately struck back through Despoina Kalogeropoulou on the eighth pass of extra-man attack from the right-post position. At 3:16, there was still time to win. Two minutes later USA’s Jenna Flynn scored her 29th goal with a six-metre foul shot from eight metres out, ultimately securing top shooter in Belgrade and the gold medal. She earlier converted the two penalty fouls. At 6-4 down in the second period, Greece’s Nefeli-Chrysoula Chaldaiou came to the fore with a bomb from the top and then as the buzzer was about to sound, she surged high to slap down a rebound into goal. The VAR decision decided she had scored before the buzzer. Her delight was evident with her slapping of the water and screaming.
USA goalkeeper Christine Carpenter made nine saves and took a steal to be named best in final. Flynn scored three goals to top USA’s scoring in the match and the tournament. Stefania Santa, kept scoreless today, was Greece’s top scorer with 20. Foteini Tricha, who finished with 16 goals was named Most Valuable Player of the tournament.
HUNGARY 9 ITALY 5
Hungary reaffirmed its dominance over Italy, having won their group match 12-8. In the equal lowest-scoring match of the tournament, Hungary stunned Italy with the first three goals and led 3-1 at the first break. Hungary won the second period 2-1 and drew the third 1-1 and the last 2-2. Italy was determined in the fourth quarter, scoring the first two goals — from the left and then Aurora Longo from the top to close within two at 2:28. Zoe Lendvay made the difference too hard to bridge when she scored a blinder from the deep-left-hand-catch position, taking the ball across her body and bouncing into goal. Italy took a timeout and worked the ball around for the final score off a near-post pass on extra-man attack. Hungary converted three from four on the six on fives and Italy only one from eight, showing just how good the Hungarian defence was. For Hungary, it was a second bronze to go with the one from 2014, while it has taken home a silver — at the inaugural event in Perth in 2012. Italy was the silver medallist in Belgrade in 2018 and was the bronze medallist in Auckland in 2016.
Goalkeeper Szonja Golopencza was best in pool with 12 saves and for her efforts throughout the tournament she received the ultimate goalkeeping award, as well. Team-mate Lendvay scored three goals and Kata Hajdu two, to make her the team’s highest scorer with 23. For Italy, Longo was best with two and 23 for the tournament.
What they said
Zelma Koka (HUN) — Player
“We are so much happy about winning a bronze medal today. Our defence was almost perfect; that really helped us to win today.”
Helga Maria Santapaola (ITA) — Goalkeeper
“We did everything that is possible to win this hard game but, Hungary is a really good opponent.”
AUSTRALIA 12 SPAIN 16
It’s hard to come back from 5-0 down. Spain was on fire with a tremendous start, four goals coming in the first four minutes. It was 5-1 at the quarter and that first Aussie goal had the Southern Hemisphere team back on track. Spain won the second period 2-1 for 7-2. The third quarter belonged to Australia, winning 7-4, starting with consecutive goals to Tayla Dawkins — the second in a goalmouth melee while guarded by three players. The sheer weight of the group seemed to surge the ball over the line. Australia scored for 8-5, but there was a discussion between the referees and it was determined a Greek player had entered illegally and the goal disallowed and a penalty awarded, which was converted. Greece went 9-5. However, Australia scored on a lob and two counter-attacks to bring the margin to one. Greece responded with two and Dawkins nailed her third from the left for 11-9. Greece went 12-9 and Australia scored from centre forward for 12-10. Then Spain showed why it was the defending champion nation, shooting out to 16-11 with Australia finishing the scoring with a snap backhand from two metres off a rebound. Spain may not have gone home with a medal, but displayed plenty of potential. Australia played better with every match and should be proud of taking 12 goals off Spain. Sixth place was two down on its best finish in 2018.
Isobel Piralkova, with three goals, was named best in water, scoring three goals, as did Giorgia Gallinato, while six others made the sheet. Sienna Green starred for Australia with five goals — and a team-high 17 — and Dawkins three. Daniela Moreno — two goals today — was the highest scorer for Spain with 19.
What they said
Isabel Piralkova (ESP) – Player of the Match
“I am utterly proud of my team; we were fighting as hard as we could because it was our last game, and I am satisfied with the overall game. I believe that fifth position is an outstanding success, being able to say our team is in top five in the world is a huge thing.”
Sienna Green (AUS) – Five Goals
“I am just so proud of my girls, because even though we had started badly, we never gave up and eventually managed to minimise the score difference. Obviously, we didn’t obtain the score that we hoped for in the end, but the pride of my team replaces every number. We are really happy about our position on the list; we all wanted to sense this international experience. We’ve gathered incredible number of applicable advice at this championship, so this was truly a wonderful journey for our team.”
NEW ZEALAND 8 NETHERLANDS 18
Netherlands was out to prove a point, that it should have been higher up the rankings after losing its quarter-final by a goal to Italy and then the five-eight semifinal by another single goal to Spain. The match was initially not as easy as the final score shows. The match was level at one, two and three before going into the second quarter with a 6-3 margin. A 4-2 second quarter raised the score to 10-5 at the long break. Netherlands then put all its training into practice with two goals in a minute and 14-5 before the Kiwis took a penalty shot, only to hit the post. It became 16-5 and 16-6 at the final break. Netherlands closed the period, the match and the tournament with a 3-1 burst for 18-8, the biggest winning margin since Greece’s 23-9 over New Zealand on day five. On the six-on-five count, Netherlands converted six from eight and New Zealand none from one. Netherlands has yet to win a medal at this level and was fifth in 2018, fourth in 2016 and sixth in 2014. The Kiwis were 10th in 2016, 13th in 2014 and sixth in 2012.
Lola Moohuijzen (pictured above with FINA TWPC Chairman Tamas Molnar), was the undoubted star with a magnificent eight-goal haul, lifting her tournament tally to a second-ranked 27. Darcy Spark netted three for New Zealand and the team’s highest scorer, Millie Quin, was restricted to one from two, sending her to third best with 24 goals and inclusion in the Media All Star team.
What they said
Eszter Gyori (NED) – Head Coach
“I think it was a good game and we had to win it. We were confident we were going to and I think we played good. It’s hard to play for the seventh place, because this is not what we were coming for, but we had to do it and win this, so I’m very proud of the girls.”
Lola Moolhuijzen (NED)
“It’s, what Eszter said, really not what we wanted. Especially after the quarter-finals; we still think we deserved to have penalties. It’s not the best feeling; we wanted to end higher and we wanted to show that we are one of the best, which we didn’t. We were hearth broken after the quarter-finals and it was very hard to get out of that and we couldn’t really. It is what it is and this is still U18 and things can happen and we are still learning.”
Zoltan Boros (NZL) – Head Coach
“It was a tough game for us, because Holland is a very strong team and to play them for seventh place, they were expecting to be in the top four, and I knew that they were going to come out playing really strong defence. We managed to hang on for a few minutes in the first two quarters and then the gap got wider. Eighth place is a fantastic result for us and I’m so proud of the team. My assistant Paul and I think they’ve done an amazing job. Before the tournament we wanted to be top eight and we knew we could be competitive with Serbia and Croatia and we managed to win both games and then we played Canada in a crossover match and we won by one goal, which was an amazing achievement. For this age to be in the top eight in the world is an excellent achievement and we are so proud.”