La Salle wins third consecutive UAAP Women’s Football title

The DLSU Women’s Football Team secured their third straight UAAP Women’s Football title after they defeated the FEU Tamaraws 2-0, in the UAAP Season 81 Women’s Football Tournament Finals held Thursday afternoon at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.

Rookie hotshots Maye Mendano and Shai Del Campo proved that they are unfazed by the big dance. They stepped up in their debut finals by contributing a goal each to seal what is also the record-breaking 11th title in UAAP Women’s Football. Prior to the final, La Salle and FEU were level at 10 each for the most championships in the women’s game.

Neither team managed to break the deadlock in the first half but between the two of them, La Salle looked more dangerous. Had it not been for Kimberly Parina’s steady presence between the FEU goalposts, the Archers may have gone ahead before the break.

Eight minutes after the interval, the girls in green-and-white got what they were looking for. Oddly enough, it was not what La Salle initially wanted. When Irish Navaja was brought down along the touchline, the team remonstrated for not allowing play to continue. Her team still had possession after all and could have found a way to unlock the Tamaraws’ defense in open play.

They ended up thanking the referee for not choosing to play the advantage as it was on that dead ball situation where DLSU took the lead. Sara Castaneda’s free kick found Mendano whose touch was enough to breach the FEU goal. It helped settle the nerves of players and fans alike as La Salle managed to reflect their dominance with the first goal of the game.

Now needing to attack, the girls from Morayta did their best to go back into level terms. Briefly, FEU thought they have midway through the second half. The ball went past Tashka Lacson but the referee disallowed the goal following an offside infraction. The Lasallians breathed a sigh of relief and from that point, Coach Hans Smit’s team began to retake control of the match.

The first goal is always crucial but is never conclusive. In both of their two previous finals stints, DLSU opened the scoring only for their opponents to equalize. This time around, the ladies from Taft Avenue did not allow FEU to restore parity. For them to do that, they needed to score again before FEU even could.

Alas, the all-important second goal came at perhaps the best of times. With 11 minutes to left in the contest, del Campo deftly lobbed the ball over the FEU goalkeeper to cushion her team’s lead. After that, the Lady Archers did well to deny the Tamaraws any chance of scoring a consolation goal. At full time, the DLSU crowd burst into euphoria after witnessing their team crowned champions for the third year running.