Women’s EuroHockey Indoor U21 Championship Final
Austria 2 (M Monghy, J Czech) Czech Republic 1 (K Topinkova)
Austria won the women’s EuroHockey Indoor U21 Championships for the first time in their history as their quality eventually told in the final against the Czech Republic in the Maihof Halle.
It brought to a close a fabulous weekend in Lucerne with packed stands and big passion as the players made up for lost time after four years waiting to return to this stage.
Earlier, Türkiye won their first ever bronze medal in a top tier European competition while Switzerland left it late to claim fifth place (full reports below).
In the final, Austria took the lead with seven seconds left in the first quarter, Laura Kern jamming the ball down the left sideboard to Marilena Monghy who squeezed a shot through the covering goalkeeper and defence.
Kamila Kopecká’s direct running caused plenty of problems but Austrian keeper Corina Stedronsky was able to charge down each of corner effort that came as a result.
Katharina Proksch, meanwhile, showed her threat with some neat efforts from the left sideline but the minimum remained between the sides at half-time.
Austria continued to make most of the play in the second half and they got an extra bump on their lead when Joanna Czech produced a perfect corner routine to hit the net.
With the excellent efforts of Lucie Duckková and Rozárie Mrázová, it stayed just at 2-0 to the end of Q3 with Austria dominating play but not quite out of sight.
The Czechs went to six outfielders with 10 minutes to go but it was Austria who continued to make the chances. A brilliant Ellen Merxbauerova block denied one chance while Czech missed out by the smallest of margins twice.
With four minutes to go, Katerina Topinkova was found loose in the circle and she nailed her eighth goal of the competition to set up a rousing finale.
Topinkova charged down two corners to maintain that hope, as did Kiara Mikulaskova off the line but the final chance at the far end never came and Austria held on for a famous moment in their hockey history.
3rd/4th place playoff
Türkiye 2 (S Goceber, G Paksoy) Ukraine 1 (K Popova)
Türkiye won their first European top tier medal as they came back from a goal down to defeat Ukraine and land the bronze medal at the Maihof Halle.
In a frantic contest, Kateryna Popova gave Ukraine the lead but brilliant goals from Someyra Goceber and Gülcan Paksoy turned the tables to start a rapturous scene of celebrations.
Played at a high tempo from the start, it was a fierce, passionate battle from the outset with little to choose between the sides. After a scoreless first quarter, Ukraine burst into the lead seconds into Q2 with Popova breaking into the circle and whipping home a powerful low shot.
The response was swift, Sumeyra Goceber unleashing a fierce shot from the top of the D, completing a quick passing move.
A relentless Q3 saw both sides tearing up and down the court with Anastasiia Shyshyna and Vitalina Vlasenko skimming shots across the face of goal.
Türkiye took the lead when they intercepted on halfway, setting up a three on two which saw Esma Idik’s ball across deflect into the path of Gülcan Paksoy who walked it into the goal.
Sila Erkoç was centimetres from extending the lead when Ukraine had a player in the sin-bin with her first-time deflecting going over the crossbar.
Anastasiia Voiedvoda hit the outside of the post as Ukraine fought to the end to grab an equaliser.
Türkiye suffered a yellow card for the last two minutes, leaving it six outfielders on four for the last stages but they held their nerve, saving a late corner off the line. It led to huge scenes of celebrations in front of their loud and passionate supporters who have been such a feature of the weekend in Lucerne.
Switzerland 2 (L Paulisch, P Appel) Croatia 1 (E Litvić)
Pauline Appel secured fifth place for hosts Switzerland with the final play of their tournament, denying Croatia a point from their first appearance in the top U21 tier of European indoor.
The game took a while to ignite with the first half very tight, producing just one Swiss corner and only a few fleeting chances.
Switzerland took the lead in the 25th minute when Luisa Paulisch raced down the left board and while her initial route was held up, she picked out an audacious backhand flip-shot from the baseline to make it 1-0.
Croatia fought back in the closing quarter, moving to a more aggressive press and they were level in the 34th minute when Eva Litvić got around the back, rode a tackle and slipped in a shot
In a lively finale, goalkeeper Tea Andričić made a great save from a stroke, adding to her brilliant personal performance. But she was unable to prevent a corner shot from Appel on the final whistle to see Switzerland nick the win and fifth place overall.
Poland 5 (M Drozda 2, N Dejneka 2, O Krychniak) Italy 4 (M Picconocchi 2, M Torbol, C Beis)
Poland led on five separate occasions before eventually getting the better of Italy to end their tournament in sixth place. Maria Drozda started them off when she scrambled in a fast move down the right boards for 1-0 at the end of Q1.
Maria Torbol launched a corner into the top of the goal for 1-1 but Drozda matched that effort to put the Polish side back in front at half-time.
Camilla Beis tied it at two each from mid-circle; Natalia Dejneka scored her fifth of the tournament in reply but a diving Mathilde Piccinocchi once again equaled the scoring, 3-3 going into the final quarter.
And the goals continued to rain down, Oliwia Krychniak restoring the Polish advantage but Piccinocchi picked out the top corner with the pick of the goals for 4-4. Dejneka, though, got a delightful touch a through ball to get her side in front for a final time.
- Czech Republic
** All the games from the women’s EuroHockey Indoor U21 Championship are available to view on www.eurohockeytv.org