by John Edison Ubaldo
Coming off from an opening loss at the hands of defending champion Ateneo De Manila Blue Eagles, the University of the Philippines Women’s Football Team leaned on its sturdy defense to bounce back and force a scoreless draw against Season 74 runner-up De La Salle University Lady Booters today at the Erenchun Field in Ateneo de Manila University.
The La Sallians dominated the ball possession and created a lot of scoring chances but just could not totally breakdown the defense of the Lady Maroons, who has won the 2012 National University Games Football crown in Bacolod.
According to UP Head Coach Franklin Cacacho, the strategy going into the game was to keep their defense high and create opportunities for counter attack.
“Madaming chances lang na hindi namin nai-score,” said Coach Cacacho. “Siguro kulang na lang naman, more on attack. Kasi nagfocus nga ‘yung team sa depensa.”
Charmaine Lou Guancia provided the spark for La Salle coming off the bench and finding an opening for a goal in the 40th minute but her shot was high.
Guancia again hounded UP’s defensive line in the 53rd minute with an attack inside the box only to fail once again as her kick hit the crossbar.
Moments later, the Maroons countered with consecutive penetrations led by Monica Louise Manalansan and striker Christina Marie Vergara but their shots failed to hit the target.
Guancia once again provided the dangers with attacks in the 58th and 65th minute but still was not able to successfully convert for La Salle.
DLSU almost broke the dry spell in the 88th minute with successive shots inside the box but UP’s Clara Poblador and rookie Daniella Ugarte denied a letdown.
In the ensuing play, midfielder Katherine Orsonilo emphatically displayed the Maroon Defense with a header from the goal post which kicked the ball out of the box in an almost-goal-moment for DLSU.
Coach Cacacho picked Manalansan as the Man of the Match who played a key role in stopping the surging attacks of DLSU.
“Siya naghold sa gitna. Siya rin naghold sa depensa namin,” said Coach Cacacho of Manalansan.
The UP Women’s Football Team will face University of Santo Tomas Tigresses on December 12 at 3pm in the Ocampo Field, ADMU.