“In the end it’s about how strong you come back”
April 7, 2023
by Sascha Staat
On Friday, the Dutch women’s handball team beat Sweden’s “second” squad in front of a sell-out crowd at the Topsportscentrum in Almere, 31-27 (17:13). It was the first encounter of two friendly matches within less than 20 hours. After the game, goalkeeper, Yara ten Holte (Netherlands), talked about her team, her personal performance and what to expect from her club Borussia Dortmund for the remainder of the season.
First of all, congratulations to the win. Are you satisfied? Because it was Sweden’s second team…
YTH: Yes, but we also had five new players in our squad while we rested some of our more experienced players. All of them could have played this game. I think in the end we were satisfied. Of course, it was a high score and we only won by four, but as I said we had five new players in our line up. Overall, I think the result is something we can be really proud of.
You can also be proud of your own performance. I don’t know how many saves you had, but you stopped several wide open shots?
YTH: Yes, at the moment it’s really working out well and I’m happy that I can help the team. Today, several open shots and some from close range came my way, but towards the end our defense also became better and helped to stop some nine-meter shots. As mentioned, we had a number of new players on the pitch and we had to find new combinations. In the end I have to be happy and recognize that I saved as many shots as I did, so the team managed to get a better result.
Please explain to me what happened recently. Some weeks ago there was a brief period when your performance was a bit down. Now, you appear to be on a role. How does it work?
YTH: First, we are not machines, so you always play some good and some poorer games. Secondly, as a goalkeeper you need the trust of your teammates and coaches and I do get lots of it. Still, sometimes you are questioning yourself and there comes a point where you have to find your confidence again, so you can help the team.
Sometimes this may take only one game and sometimes it takes a little bit longer. Being a goalkeeper is a unique experience. During a game when it doesn’t work well, you have to find your focus quickly to move on. In the end it’s how strong you come back. This last time it took a bit longer, but when it happens again it will be shorter because I learned from the experience.
Let’s talk about your current club, BVB Dortmund. It took you one week to recover from the big loss in Nantes. In the second game you beat the French club decisivley and moved on to the EHF European League FINAL4, in Graz. Tell me how much this decisive match is still on your mind? It must have served as an energy booster?
YTH: Yes, of course. My performance in Nantes was not the best one this season. I had difficulties with some of the shooters but it also depends on the kind of players who are attacking you.
Already one more match can make a very big difference because you know the players better, you know what to expect and then you learn from it and prepare for one whole week. It’s much different when you play against them again or if you see it on the video. I think that’s why my performance in the second game was a lot better and the reason why I could help the team to win with a ten-goal difference.
When you get back to Dortmund after the international team break it will be only six weeks before you say good-bye to your club teammates.
YTH: Sadly enough, yes. I have thought about it the last few days because when I come back, it will be mid of April already and only a few weeks left – just ten games to be precise.
I’m really happy that we made it to Graz to the Final Four of the European League. There, I get the chance to play two more games – I’m really proud to be part of this team and I don’t want it to end. But sadly, my stay in Dortmund will come to an end soon. Hopefully, I will be back there someday.
In Graz, you’ll play against Nykobing Falster in the first match. Some of the pundits say it’s the best draw you could get. You won’t face the other German team, Thüringer HC, and you don’t play against the favorites to win it all – Ikast Handbold. What are your thoughts?
YTH: Yes, I’m really happy that we are not playing against Thüringer HC because it’s an international competition and you want to play against teams from other countries. And when you compare Ikast with Nykobing Falster, it may indeed be the better draw for us. We still need to play the game, but we have shown against Nantes that you can lose by nine and one week later win by ten. This time we will only have 60 minutes to show our best performance and then we’ll see if it’s enough to reach the final.
So, what’s your expectation for the remaining time in Dortmund?
YTH: I think everybody is eager to win in Graz – everybody is very motivated. Now, we want to finish it. I think this is the spirit you need if you want to win an international cup. You need to be ambitious, be focused and play at the highest level possible. We will be ready.