Four more women’s team claimed a place in Round Two of the World League after this weekend’s Round One event in Vienna, Austria. Making the cut were Belgium, Russia, Ukraine and Austria-.
Belgium and Russia already had their place in the next round secure after just three days of action, allowing them to relax through the weekend. Nevertheless, Belgium ran the table and came out unbeaten with a +14 goals advantage. No surprise, consider just one month ago the same team was at the London Olympics. Russia also didn’t relax in the last two days, taking second place with their only loss come against Russia.
Must more interesting was the battle for the final two qualification places. Ukraine sealed its spot in the next round on Saturday afternoon after climbing up in the standings with nine points in four games thanks to a 3-1 win against Austria. Ukraine nearly finished in second place, but was edged, 3-2, by Russia in the final game.
With three of the four places decided going into the final game day, it all came down to big showdown between host Austria and Lithuania Each entered the game with three points and either could claim the last place in the Round Two event.
It was high drama through the bitter end as the teams ended regulation in a 1-1 deadlock, sending the deciding game into a penalty shootout. After five shots on each side, the score was still deadlocked, sending the shootout to sudden death. Julia Busch was the hero for Austria, sinking her second shootout goal on the first round of sudden death to lift the Austrians to the 4-3 shootout win and to the World League Round Two.
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