UAAP: Lady Booters suffer opening match defeat against Growling Tigresses

The DLSU Lady Booters dropped the first game of their title defense, losing 1-0 to the UST Growling Tigresses earlier today, March 4, at the UP Diliman Football Pitch.

UST forward Lovely Fernandez scored the only goal of the game in the 61st minute to seal the win.

Shaking off the rust

Looking to control the tempo from the kickoff, the Lady Booters were able to string consecutive passes together throughout the first half. However, the reigning champions struggled to create clear-cut chances. The Growling Tigresses matched the intensity early on, capitalizing on their opportunities to go on the counter. Moving steadily into the first half, La Salle started to gain control of the midfield—thanks to veteran co-captains Bea Delos Reyes, Mae Mendaño, and Shai Del Campo—but were still unable to unlock UST’s defense.

The Green and White nearly broke through the 33rd minute after a crisply maneuvered counter led to a one-on-one chance for DLSU’s Chenny Dañoso, who slotted the ball past the UST keeper—only to be called offside. 

The Lady Booters’ next opportunity came in the 41st minute when they were awarded a free kick from the edge of the box, but the shot was fired over the crossbar. Both teams continued trading attempts as the first half ended in a 0-0 draw.

Faltering at the conclusion

The DLSU midfield continued to control possession to start the second half, suffocating UST in their own half and taking the ball away high up the pitch. However, the Lady Booters’ struggles persisted in the final third of the pitch, as they were able to build up from the back but had no clear finishes to produce goals. 

The team from España steadily grew into the game as the half progressed and put in a lob pass into the box in the 61st minute, which DLSU keeper Alexandrea Gumilao failed to clear. Fernandez capitalized on the error and struck the ball past the remaining defenders to score the decisive goal of the match.

La Salle had an opportunity to equalize in the 63rd minute but lacked the clinical finish on the one-on-one chance. Having the lead, UST defended well throughout the remainder of the half while taking the opportunities to go on the counter. DLSU midfielder Stephanie Goñe had a final chance in the sixth minute of added time but was again too hesitant in the crucial moment, allowing the UST keeper to settle and make the save.

Lamenting the team’s mentality as the source of the loss, DLSU Head Coach Hans-Peter Smit shared, “They were not mentally prepared. They took it too lightly. They had all the chances, but they just could not play the game.” The seasoned coach also emphasized the need to regroup and win the next game.

The DLSU Lady Booters will look to do just that when they go against the UP Fighting Maroons at 4 pm on March 11 at the same venue.

Aren Reyes

By Aren Reyes

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