Hosts North Macedonia claim well-deserved opening win against the USA

19 Jun. 2024

Hosts North Macedonia claim well-deserved opening win against the USA

The last match of the opening day of the 2024 IHF Women's Junior World Championship in Boris Trajkovski Sports Center saw the hosts taking on the United States of America and winning big, 32:15

North Macedonia vs United States of America 32:15 (15:6)

A shot from Ia Hannevik in the third minute cancelled out Bojana Koceva's opener, but the United States of America had to wait long for their second goal, as North Macedonia firmly seized the initiative and boasted a 6:0 run before Eden Nesper finally scored again for the USA.

The home team are missing a number of sidelined players in the current tournament, and early in the opening game, Bojana Koceva was also injured and stretchered off the court. But the North Macedonians continued to fully dominate, opening up a double digit lead (13:3) already in the 22th minute when Sara Stefanoska converted a 7m shot.

The hosts relied on solid goalkeeping, as Matea Churlinovska boasted a 60% save efficiency in the opening half. Right back Iva Mladenovska led by example in attack, and North Macedonia felt very comfortable at the interval, leading by nine goals. 

The United States of America had a meagre 29% shot efficiency in the opening 30 minutes, but they  improved in the beginning of the second half, enjoying a 4:1 run, their best moment of the match. However, North Macedonia soon bounced back and used a 8:0 run between minutes 37 and 47 to create a 25:11 lead. 

Veronika Gjorgijevska, who replaced Churlinovska in goal, also did well, just like Borjana Koceva, the injured Bojana's twin sister. The right back scored nine goals from 10 attempts and became the top scorer of the match, as well as the Alkaloid Player of the Match, voted by the fans on and on the IHF app.

On Friday, North Macedonia will face fellow European side Iceland, who also have two points after day one. In turn, the USA team will meet Angola on the same day. 

Alkaloid Player of the Match: Borjana Koceva, North Macedonia