Italian dominance in the final and Bristol take home a bronze!
October 5, 2022 by Marina Symington in Recap with 0 comments
This year we saw a repeat of the xEUCF 2021 final as CUSB Shout (Bologna) faced YAKA (Noisy-le-sec) once again. Both teams had steamrolled to the final, comfortably winning all of their matches along the way. These rivals would have both had their eyes on claiming the title all season. Before the game, Shout was winning the head-to-head record over YAKA this season, having beaten the French team at both London Invite and Elite Invite. They also had Laura Farfoli and Anna Ceschi, who were both missing from the roster at WUCC, back on the pitch for this tournament. YAKA, however, were victorious at xEUCF 2021 and were sure to come in fighting with Aline Mondiot playing despite a recent injury and Robyn Fennig back in the fold after WUCC.
Early momentum for Shout
The first two points demonstrated smooth offense from both sides, who each held to make it 1-1. In the third point, the turns began to start with mis-throws from both teams. Eventually, YAKA managed to break with a score from Clara Mathias. Shout then equalised and proceeded to score two breaks in a row thanks to some pivotal end zone defence from Sofia Scazzieri, giving them a nice 5-2 lead. The Shout momentum continued unwaveringly, and they scored two out of the next four points, putting them four points ahead at 7-3.
Perhaps recognising that something needed to change, YAKA called a timeout. This had the desired effect to some extent, with Fennig scoring back-to-back points to close the gap slightly to 7-5, before Shout took half 8-5.
After half time YAKA came out on offense, but a throw away from Esther Vanwijck gave possession back to Shout who made use of the opportunity and, with a bid from Saskia Beek in the endzone, secured another break. Zone defense was working very nicely for Shout, with YAKA failing to be dynamic enough to break through the cup. Their deep players were hanging out in the deep space, but the handlers appeared reluctant to throw over the cup either despite the lack of wind. Shout’s offense was incredibly clean, meaning that as soon as they generated a turn, they were able to score. It soon put them five points clear at 10-5.
A march towards the title
At this point, YAKA’s hopes were looking slim, and they would need something drastic to put them back in the game. They didn’t appear to be able to find this, however, and the next eight points were simply traded with both side’s O lines holding. On defense YAKA started to use their own zone. It didn’t seem to be as effective for them and Shout were able to cut through it, with much credit going to both Sofia and Irene Scazzieri who were responsible for a good portion of Shout’s goals. On offense, YAKA were much smoother and didn’t allow Shout to take any more breaks, but at 14-9 down they were going to need more than just holds to prevent Shout’s victory.
Shout stuck to their zone and forced the YAKA handlers back into their own end zone, before they were able to break away up the side line towards the opposite goal line. But an overthrow from Andrea Zens gave possession over to Shout’s Maria Chiara Frangipane. Several passes later and Nada Tremonte from Shout had the disc close to YAKA’s end zone; one pass and a diving Susanna Casarini catch later and the Italian women had secured the championship, 15-9.
Laura Farolfi, for so long a talisman and driving force for CUSB, credited their mindset of wanting to enjoy the game for their victory.
“Going into the game we talked about playing with joy. There will be turnovers but let’s celebrate everything. For some of us on the team we have been playing together for 15 years so it’s great to just celebrate the chance for us to play together again. To see all the work paying off today was incredible. We obviously had unresolved feelings from WUCC, where we lost some matches we were hoping to win, but this was a step in the process that led to the win today. We think of every person as a brick and only when you put all the bricks together is it possible to build a wall. And after last year’s final we knew this matchup was coming, but we really wanted to play together and enjoy it for us, regardless of the opponent and that’s what allowed us to win today.”
This year EUF has introduced MVP voting for the first time at this tournament. The very first MVP for the women’s division was awarded to Sofia Scazzieri for her impressive performance over the tournament, particularly in the final.
First European medal for Bristol
Bristol lost in their semi-final to eventual winners CUSB Shout, meaning they played Seagulls (Hamburg) for the bronze medals. They put up a good fight in the semi final and, despite their loss, were very positive about playing for third. Before the game, Carla Link from Bristol said: “We are so excited to be in the bronze medal match. Rested and ready!”
This positive mindset paid off. The first half was tight; Bristol broke Seagulls twice, before the Germans broke back twice to make the score even at 6-6. Bristol then managed to secure another break, after holds from both sides, took half at 7-8. In the second half Bristol really came into their own and pulled away significantly. They scored seven goals, whilst only conceding two to the Germans, making the final score 15-9 and Bristol European bronze medalists. This is a fantastic achievement for Bristol and makes them the third British team to win a medal at EUCF1.
This season was close all the way through, with several teams seemingly in the running for the title. In the end, though, CUSB Shout were simply too strong for the rest of the field in their own back yard. They capped every opponent and conceded no more than 11 against anyone, demonstrating their depth, cohesion and dominance and becoming very deserving winners for the third time in four years2.
And the first other than Iceni since LeedsLeedsLeeds won silver in 2010. ↩
Excluding the cancelled 2020 tournament from a year we’re all pretending never happened. ↩