La Salle stamps authority on Ateneo to get Season 81 campaign underway

The DLSU Women’s Football Team started their title defense on a high as they smashed three unanswered goals en route to a 3-0 win against archrivals Ateneo Wednesday afternoon at the Circulo Verde Pitch in Quezon City.

Rookies Shai del Campo and Maye Mendaño both got their first UAAP goal in their first game before veteran Kyra Dimaandal added another after the break to put the game far beyond the Eagles’ reach.

La Salle coach Hans-Peter Smit expressed satisfaction with her freshman duo’s contributions in the game. “We expected them to play that way (but) they haven’t yet played to their potential. (There were) too many missed opportunities,” he elaborated.

The Archers started the game brightly, controlling the pace of the game and even creating a few half chances along the way. They nearly made their dominance count 23 minutes in after Kyra Dimaandal pounced on a loose ball before putting it into the back of the net. Her effort, however, was correctly ruled out as she came from an offside position.

Converting chances is the name of the game and dominating the game usually isn’t reflected by the most vital statistic – goals. That’s why it was important for La Salle to take their next chance and so they have.

Nine minutes in and a bit against the run of play, del Campo found the top corner to put the girls in green in front. Once they seized advantage, the reigning UAAP women’s football champions wanted more to make their lead a more comfortable.

Maintaining pressure on their opponents, La Salle won a penalty in the 39th minute after an Atenean defender handled the ball inside the box. Stepping up to take the spotkick was Mendaño who made sure she started her UAAP career with a debut goal. The halftime whistle sounded soon, letting the team in green enjoy a two-goal lead at the interval.

In the second half, Ateneo revamped their approach as they sought a way back into the match. They were getting more of the ball and were also sending more people forward. Their goal was to create more chances on their end but their tactic backfired. Instead of reducing the deficit to a single goal, the Ateneans left their half vulnerable to a well-executed DLSU counterattack.

In the 67th minute, Dimaandal tucked the ball into the goal with her head. As a result of her collision with Ateneo keeper Maria Caparros, the captain went off immediately perhaps with the coaching staff already having an eye on the UST game on Saturday.

Towards the end, Ateneo played more aggressively in their pursuit of a consolation goal. Their best chance came off a dead ball where Martie Bautista managed to steer the ball with her head. Unfortunately for her, it went to the wrong side of the goalpost. At the end of the day, La Salle kept their rivals without a goal to celebrate.

Asked what stood out the most in the girls’ first 90 minutes, Smit liked how the players kept themselves calm especially in key moments. “They maintained their composure. There was no rush, but we needed to take more advantage of the opportunities on the attack,” the tenured mentor stated.

As the Archers ended the game with a confidence-boosting victory, their attention turns quickly to their second assignment against last year’s finalists UST in three days time. Kickoff of that game is scheduled at 1 p.m. in the same venue.