Belfius EuroHockey Championships
Women’s Pool A: Belgium 4 (L Versavel 2, A-S Weyns, S Vanden Borre) Russia 1 (B Sadovaia)
Belgium moved to the top of Pool A on goal difference after two rounds of matches as first quarter blitz put them in great shape for their 4-1 win.
Three goals in the first quarter from Louise Versavel, Ann-Sophie Weyns and Stephanie Vanden Borre put them in great shape. Russia fought back with a Bogdana Sadovaia goal but Versavel’s second earned a key result.
Versavel was the first to strike, plucking a bouncing ball out of mid-air in mid-circle, flipping it into space and volleying in. The second goal owed a lot to Emma Puvrez’s delightful run along the right baseline and her cross was met with perfect timing by Weyns for 2-0.
Two became three when Ambre Ballenghien’s driving run ended in a corner which Vanden Borre nailed. After that, Russia avoided further damage courtesy of their excellent goalkeeper Viktoriia Aleksandrina who made a series of good stops.
And the Russians pounced from a rare break out of defence when Svetlana Eroshina pinched possession in the left corner. Her jinking run saw her race from left to right and lay on a shot for Iuliia Cheplygina; Aisling D’Hooghe got half a stop on it but Bogdana Sadovaia was in place to swipe in the loose ball.
They had a golden chance to reduce the gap to 3-2 late in the third quarter, too, but snatched at a corner rebound. Belgium punished that error as Versavel was lurking behind the last defender who could not control Jill Boon’s under-the-arm pass.
4-1 was how it stayed after a lively closing 10 minutes in which the Belgians went close to adding to their total.
“Yeah, we are happy to get the three points which is the most important,” Versavel said after her pair of goals. “We started the game well with really good energy – the second quarter, we dropped that energy and got a bit sloppier. Second half we got it back and stuck to the structure.
“We clearly see when we press well, we get good balls in good areas, it affects our whole game so it is an important thing for us to keep up.”
It means they need a win or draw from their final group game on Wednesday to go through to the next phase of the competition.
“We just want to attack every game and do our best. Spain are a good team; we will have to give it everything and play to win.”
Umpires: S Wilson (SCO), V Bagdanskiene (LTU)
Belgium – Russia
8’ Louise Versavel (FG) 1-0
13’ Ann-Sophie Weyns (FG) 2-0
14’ Stephanie Vanden Borre (PC) 3-0
24’ Bogdana Sadovaia (FG) 3-1
48’ Louise Versavel (FG) 4-1