Netherlands women clinched the FIH Pro League title for a third time in four seasons on Monday – their first major prize under coach Paul van Ass.
Their 2-1 victory over Germany in Amsterdam took their points tally to 37 with three games remaining, and out of reach of any of the chasing teams.
With the tournament title just one win away, the Dutch dominated the first quarter, but there weren’t too many scoring opportunities created. A much more lively second period from the Germans saw them upping the intensity and playing themselves back into the match, but neither side found the breakthrough with the score still 0-0 at half-time.
The home side exerted more of the pressure in the third quarter and they were duly rewarded with a penalty corner with just 23 seconds remaining in the period. Yibbi Jansen’s initial drag was saved by keeper Noelle Rother, but a reflex response from Pien Sanders saw her getting her stick to the rebound for a deserved Dutch goal.
With just over five minutes remaining, the Netherlands took a step closer to the trophy when Joosje Burg worked the ball to Pien Dicke to pop it in from just in front of goal. The Germans did manage to pull one back in the dying minute, Viktoria Huse squeezing it through the keeper off a reworked penalty corner. But it was not enough to deny the dominant Dutch the victory.
Pien Sanders was named Player of the Match and said: “I am very proud. This is our first prize under Paul [van Ass] and we are very happy with it. It was not easy. It was a really hard fight but in the end I think we deserved to win.”