UAAP: Lady Booters evade first loss, draw against Lady Maroons, 1-1

The DLSU Lady Booters opened the second round of eliminations with a draw, settling for a 1-1 stalemate against the UP Lady Maroons earlier today at the Circulo Verde Football Pitch. With Sara Castañeda’s late equalizer, the defending champions remain undefeated in their matches for the season.

Coming off the Holy Week break, the team played “a little bit off” according to midfielder Irish Navaja, who acknowledged that it was normal for any player to have lows and highs in their performance. Additionally, both sides had shake-ups to their starting lineup. La Salle was without team captain Kyra Dimaandal, while the Maroons played without striker Isabella Dumada-og.

Missed connections

Early on, a slew of narrow misses from the La Salle side opened the tense matchup. Navaja’s low cross in the 21st minute sailed just past the left post, while Shai Del Campo’s strong lob from the left side was barely kept out by UP goalkeeper Nicole Adlawan at the 34’ mark.

Although the Taft-based squad created many chances in the first half, it was the Lady Maroons who broke the deadlock in the 40th minute of the match.

In a quick transition play, the opposing team played the ball through the left flank with Alyssa Ube handing the ball off to UP forward Mary Obra. Before La Salle’s back third could intervene, Obra’s left-footed finish threaded the low ball past DLSU goalkeeper Tashka Lacson’s outstretched arm. The Lady Maroons headed into halftime with the lead, 1-0.

Salvaging the game

The second half saw both sides still going back and forth, but for majority of those remaining minutes, neither squad found clear chances to score. The Green-and-White continued to struggle for possession on the flanks as the Lady Maroons sought to retain their 1-0 advantage. The passes were also left wanting for the Lady Booters, as multiple long balls from either side and from the midfield landed too far for anyone up front to capitalize on.

Relief for the top-seeded squad came in the 75th minute, courtesy of Sara Castañeda’s high-arcing strike from outside the box. The opposing goalkeeper appeared poised to save the attempt once again as she tapped the ball as it came down, but failed to grab a firm hold on it. The ball slipped past Adlawan to find the back of the net, giving the Lady Booters their equalizer and their lifeline back into the game.

In the dying moments of the match, the Lasallians wrestled for control of the ball with Navaja leading the charge to chase after and skirt the ball around the Lady Maroons.

La Salle’s defense also held on, surviving two late set pieces from the Diliman-based squad. Cassandra Alleje’s free kick in the 89th minute sailed over the post, while another attempt in stoppage time was caught by Lacson at the edge of the net.

“We really worked hard for that goal,” said Navaja as she recounted how the team identified solutions to their mistakes from the first half. She further added, “We have to accept the outcome of the game. We immediately erase this because we need to prepare for the next game.”

Now holding a 3-2-0 win-draw-loss record, the Green-and-White will challenge the second-seeded UST Golden Tigresses on Wednesday, May 1, at 3:30 pm at the same venue.

Erinne Ong

By Erinne Ong

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