Last Season 78, the De La Salle University Women’s Football Team suffered heartbreak at the hands of the University of the Philippines Lady Maroons, as they succumbed 1-2 in the finals. It was the Lady Archers’ only loss that year, and they never forgot the championship that got away.
Tonight, the Lady Archers went one better and redeemed themselves with a 3-1 victory against the University of Santo Tomas Lady Booters to not only win their ninth straight game this season, but also clinch that much-awaited championship.
Kyra Dimaandal, Sara Castañeda, and goalkeeper Inna Palacios scored the goals that sealed the title for the Green and White at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila, as Hazel Lustan’s goal failed to turn the tide for UST.
La Salle coach Hans-Peter Smit shared, “It’s about time! The girls deserve this considering what I said before that we’re not a complete team, healthy team. And with the injuries and everything there and coming out champions with with a perfect season, what else can I say?”
After a goalless first half, the Lady Archers took the lead after 55 minutes of action when Dimaandal tapped the ball into the net with Lady Booters goalkeeper Nicole Reyes on no-man’s land.
That goal brought much relief to La Salle, as it was the Taft school who held most of the possession in the game. However, the game was far from over, with UST giving La Salle their toughest test this year.
Uncharacteristically, though, La Salle’s defense lacked the solidity it had displayed all season long. UST forwards Jan Cleofe, Charisa Lemoran and Lustan found themselves spaces to shoot, only for La Salle goalkeeper Palacios to repel them time and time again.
Another goal was inevitable in the match and it came deservedly for the Lady Booters. The Lady Archers focused on the other end of the pitch too much, which allowed the Lady Booters to pursue a counterattack. Lustan was UST’s sole forward up top and she put the ball past Palacios in the 73rd minute.
UST dominated the final moments of the game. It was the Lady Booters who looked close to get that winning goal. Yet in a stunning twist of fate, one counterattack from the Lady Archers got them the goal that sealed the game.
The Lady Archers cleared the danger from UST’s bombardment and the ball found itself with Navaja who penetrated the left flank and unleashed a cross which Casteñeda converted in the 88th minute.
If there was a championship-winning goal, then it was Castañeda’s. It was too late for UST to launch a comeback. The Lady Archers simply milked the clock and even drew a penalty in the Lady Booters box.
Up stepped Palacios, who capped off her final collegiate game with a goal at the 90+3rd minute. The final whistle then blew afterwards, and the Lady Archers redeemed themselves from last season’s heartbreak with a 3-1 victory against the Lady Booters.
The win capped off a perfect season for La Salle, and gave them their first gold medal since Season 72 and their ninth title overall.
“I give all the honor to (the players) and of course to the God Almighty. I’m not gonna take this away from them. They’ve earned this championship. They worked hard for it. They did an impossible thing which is to keep a clean slate for the whole season,” concluded Smit.
DLSU XI: Andaya, Arrieta, Castañeda, Dimaandal, Duran, Inquig, Ledesma, Metillo, Navaja, Palacios, Tejada
UST XI: Cadag, Cleofe, Cuaresma. Eusebio, Ilan, Indac, Lemoran, Lopez, Lustan, Reyes, Sanchez.
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