Israel bursts past Italy, 12-8

NYMBURK, CZECH REPUBLIC — The Israel women’s national team trailed early, but found their stride late in the first half to secure their first victory of the 2015 European Championships, a 12-8 win over Italy at Sportovní Centrum on Thursday.

Italy came out strong in their international debut, scoring the first goal just 1:10 into the match and taking an early 3-1 lead. However, the blue-and-white answered back, scoring four unanswered goals to take a 5-3 lead. Israel would maintain the momentum, eventually extending the lead to 8-4 early in the second half.

While the Italians put up a strong fight, Israel was able to keep control of the pace and came up with some key defensive stops by goaltender Julia Szfman and defender Hannah Deoul. Despite being down two players due to yellow cards, Israel was able to ride out Italy’s man-up opportunity and kept them from scoring. The Israelis also found themselves in another tough position with the nine minutes left in the second half when a yellow-red left them down a player for five minutes. Yet again Israel was able to maintain the lead.

Jessica Rothstein (three goals), Kimberly Dubansky (two goals, one assist), Courtney Miller (two goals, one assist), Amanda Tuck (two goals), Halsey Diakow (one goal, two assists), Leah Sherman (one goal) and Deoul (one goal) were responsible for Israel’s scoring. Julia Szafman (60:00, 6 saves, 8 GA) earned the win in goal.

Alexa Cambi (four goals), Kerrin Maurer (two goals, one assist) and Daniela Kelly (two goals) scored for Italy. Nelya Ostafiychuk (60:00, 6 saves, 12 GA) was dealt the loss.

Israel is off on Saturday; they’re back in action on Sunday at 9:00 AM against Netherlands. A win on Sunday clinches a playoff berth for the undefeated Israelis.

Additional caps – Emily Brodsky, Hannah Epstein, Marlee Galper, Sarah Greenberg, Katie Mazer, Sarah Meisenberg, Ifat Ribon, Ellie Rosenblum, Sophia Rosetti, Taylor Roy

Mon, Aug 3 – Israel vs. #10 Ireland (friendly; W, 10-2)
Tue, Aug 4 – Israel vs. Czech Republic (friendly; W, 10-5)
Thu, Aug 6 – Israel vs. #5 Wales (pool play; T, 9-9) – Video
Fri, Aug 7 – Israel vs. Italy (pool play; W, 12-8)
Sun, Aug 9 at 9:00 AM – Israel vs. #14 Netherlands
**Playoffs begin on August 11th