Updated: Jun 23
Over half-term our U14 Girls took part in the MOP Invitational U14 Championships in Vught, Netherlands. The girls won their qualifying group, before winning the semi-finals 3-0 and then winning the final on penalties!
On day 1, the girls played the hosts MOP. In an outstanding performance the girls won 5-0! Evie W opened the scoring after some excellent play by Emily B. Annie then doubled the advantage from close range for a 2-0 lead after excellent play from Georgia. Daisy hit a penalty corner for 3-0 before Emily and Evie combined again, and Evie slotted home for 4-0. Imogen completed the scoring with a superb penalty corner strike.
Next up were HC Schaerweijde, from Utrecht. In a much closer contest, it was a single strike from Annie that gave the girls a 1-0 win.
On day 2, the girls faced HC Upward from Arnhem. In a very tight match, the girls pushed and pushed, but couldn’t find the breakthrough and it finished 0-0. Lilian, and Farrah & Lauren played particularly well in goal and defence respectively.
Onto the final group match against the hosts once again. In a dominant performance the girls took the lead scoring “the perfect goal”. From a 16, the girls passed the ball through Liliya, to Lauren. Lauren then played the ball into the midfield where Charlotte connected with Imogen. Her through pass to Emily meant the girls were in the attacking D. Emily passed the ball to Mali who hit home! What a goal! The girls were on their way to the semi-finals, despite MOP scoring a late equaliser to tie the game up at 1-1.
On the final day of competition, the girls faced Group B runners-up, Hockey Namur from Belgium in the semi-final. In the performance of the weekend so far the girls were outstanding! First Georgie tapped home after a skilful run by Emily. Next Emily scored her first goal of the tournament after Liliya skilfully ran through the Belgium defence. The final goal of the match was an “Evie special” as she took a long corner, eliminated three players at the top of the D before smashing a backhand into the bottom corner! On to the final!
In the final the girls faced undefeated HC Rood-Wit. The Dutch opposition, who are currently sitting third in their national competition were a very tough opponent. They had won their group convincingly and without conceding a goal! The Dutch side were brilliant! But the girls from Knole Park had come too far to just roll over! As the match ebbed, and flowed chances came and went for both teams. This was a proper match of hockey and the girls were experiencing everything we have been training for all this time!
Rood-Wit took the lead on a counter-attack after Knole Park conceded a penalty corner. A well worked routine saw the girls concede at the far post.
In the second half the girls stepped it up another gear and they were now playing the best they have all season! As the half wore on the girls were creating more and more chances and quick thinking from Liliya won the team a penalty corner. Imogen duly dispatched the chance, and it was 1-1. The girls continue to push and some outstanding play from Daisy almost resulted in a winning goal. But at this point it was more likely to be a Knole Park winner showing the girls attitude and ambition to be brilliant! Sadly, it wasn’t to be, so onto penalties. Connie in goal was incredible as she saved all but one of the Dutch penalties. Liliya and Mali both scored their penalties and Knole Park were European champions!!
Ruth, U14 Girls Team Coach, said: “This was a brilliant victory in the final! It was the culmination of lots of hard work throughout the season and the pinnacle of a great weekend of fun and team bonding!”