Saturday saw both semi-finals played once again in hot and sunny weather in front of large and enthusiastic crowds.
For the second season running, AH&BC Amsterdam lost out at the semi-final stage to UHC Hamburg on a shootout. This time it was 5-4 after a 1-1 draw in normal time, the shootout going to sudden death before Hamburg emerged triumphant.
Hamburg took the lead in the 13th minute, Charlotte van Bodegom’s shot deflected past a wrong footed Anne Veenendaal in the Amsterdam goal. Amsterdam failed to score from five penalty corners, Kitty van Male coming closest after receiving a pass from Lauren Stam, van Male’s deflection past the left post.
After some frenzied defence, Charlotte Vega eventually forced the ball over the line with nine minutes remaining to get Amsterdam back in the match. With neither side able to find a winner, a shootout loomed.
Hamburg went first, Roda Müller-Wieland smashing the ball into the netting. Maria Verschoor found the backboard to level, only for Hannah Seifert to do the same to put Hamburg 2-1 ahead. Marijn Veen lobbed the ball into the net to level things once again, Marie Mävers giving Hamburg a 3-2 lead via the backboard.
Stam became the first player to fail to score, hesitating then forcing a save, enabling Jana Teschke to extend Hamburg’s lead to 4-2. Eva De Goede shot early from the edge of the circle into the netting, but still leaving Katharina Frank the chance to win the shootout for Hamburg.
Her shot went agonisingly right the past post, offering a stay of execution for Amsterdam, Felice Albers slamming the ball into the net to force sudden death. Amsterdam went first, Verschoor blasting the ball over the bar, allowing Mävers Hamburg’s second chance to win and she made no mistake to the delight of the players and their supporters.
Hamburg will meet ‘s-Hertogenbosch in a repeat of last year’s final after the holders saw off Club Campo De Madrid. Campo fell behind in the 6th minute, Fréderique Matla crossing from the left for Lieke Hulsen to tap in at the right post.
‘s-Hertogenbosch still led 1-0 at half time, but extended their lead in the 38th minute, Ireen van der Assem scoring from the penalty spot. Three minutes later it was Campo’s chance to convert a penalty stroke, Rebecca Grote slotting the ball into the top left corner to give Campo hope.
That hope lasted just two minutes, Marlies Verbruggen allowing ‘s-Hertogenbosch to defend their title in the 2018 final.
When ‘s-Hertogenbosch’s Pleunke van der Plas was shown a yellow card, Campo elected to install their captain, Rocio Gutierrez Sierra as a kicking back to increase their advantage in a power play, but ‘s-Hertogenbosch held on comfortably to book their place in the final.
More information, including the schedule for the final day on Sunday can be found at the EHF Altius website