Lady Booters sweep the season for Women’s Football title!
Published on May 8th, 2017 | by Karl Niccolo Dela Cruz
In what was supposed to be their defining moment in UAAP Season 78, the DLSU Lady Booters fell short in the Finals match against UP which happened to be their only loss in the season. This year, however, the Taft-based squad was able to complete the season sweep to emerge as the newly crowned Queens of Philippine Football after escaping the pesky UST Golden Tigresses, 3-1, May 7 at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.
It was a slow start for both teams with the Lady Booters banking on defense as the UST squad struck the field with offense coming in from Hazel Lustan and Charisa Lemoran. Luckily for the Taft-based squad, Inna Palacios maintained her composure and proved savvy on the goalkeeping duties for La Salle. In addition, Angge Metillo and Meryll Ledesma were able to keep up with the UST offense to deflect balls coming in from the wings.
The start of the second half saw offensive minutes for the Lady Booters as they tried to maximize Irish Navaja and Nicole Andaya to set up plays for Kyra Dimaandal and Kyla Inquig only for UST goalie Nicole Reyes to deny.
A beam of flashing lights came in the form of an unguarded Dimaandal in the 55th minute who broke the España defense on the second try to get La Salle the lead, 1-nil.
UST was able to lock down on the ball possession for the rest of the second half but the solid defensive core of La Salle proved rocksteady for the Golden Tigresses to overcome. At the 73rd minute, a scurrying Lustan seized the La Salle penalty box as Palacios was caught off-guard allowing UST to score and tie the match.
Heroic antics from Navaja came in at the dying minutes of the match as she got past the UST defenders from the left side to connect with super sophomore Sara Castañeda who converted the former’s pass.
It seemed as if the game was about to end at a 2-1 score when an error on the UST side gave a penalty opportunity for the Lady Booters, 90+3’. No more than captain Palacios was called up to the stand to finish off with her first and only point in her collegiate career, eventually giving La Salle the championship.
Included in this year’s Mythical XI are Palacios, Metillo, Castañeda, Navaja, Dimaandal and Dimple Tejada. The team also won the season’s Fair Play Award.
Palacios capped off her collegiate career with a Best Goalkeeper Award. The graduating Metillo received the plum for Best Defender. Meanwhile, scoring machines Castañeda and Dimaandal clinched the Best Midfielder and Best Striker Awards, respectively. Lastly, Inquig was named the season’s MVP.
The win punctuated an immaculate record for the Lady Booters this season as they went off to reclaim the title after a seven-year drought. “They’ve earned this championship. They worked hard for it. They’ve done quite impossible things to keep a clean record for the season,” said Head Coach Hans Smit.