Sara Castañeda was a sight to behold whenever she got the ball during the championship game between the De La Salle University Lady Archers and Far Eastern University Lady Tamaraws in the UAAP Season 81 Women’s Football Tournament.
The De La Salle Zobel alumna orchestrated the Lady Archers’ best moves. It was her passing ability that allowed the Taft-based school to control the contest from kick-off until the final whistle.
When the referee called for full time, Castañeda and the rest of the Lady Archers had won the school’s third straight title in the division. And the icing on the cake for her was the Most Valuable Player award for Season 81.
“It was fun and tiring.
“We went through a lot towards the season. In the end, at least we were all able to still finish what we had to do, which is to win the championship,” said the 22-year-old. “(I’m) very happy and very thankful I get the chance to play for this team and under the coaching staff also.”
It was a stellar return to action for Castañeda in the Green and White jersey.
In fact, she was one of nine school-based players called up for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic qualifiers amidst the rigors of the college season.
“I think just being able to play against other countries, that’s already a good experience for all of us because we’re able to see how people outside of the country actually really play,” explained the Season 78 rookie of the Year and Best Midfielder.
“It makes us try to step up our game more and then we bring that here also.”
It is always a privilege for athletes to compete for their countries on the international stage. Now that the UAAP is over, the two-time collegiate champion has her sights on donning the national kit once again.
“I think after UAAP, we have a tournament before SEA Games so we’re going to be preparing for that – the AFF Women’s Championship in Thailand,” said Castaneda.
“Hopefully, we will start soon because I know it starts in August already.”
With two championships, and multiple individual awards and national team caps in her belt, it is safe to say that Castaneda is on her way to emulating the likes of alumnae Stephanie Pheasant and Marielle Benitez as stalwarts of both La Salle and the PWNT.