By Lance Jenkinson
Calder United was cold blooded in its mauling of South Melbourne in the NPL Victoria women’s soccer semi-final.
A rampaging Calder scored all six of its goals in a breathtaking first half of a 6-1 shellacking of a fierce rival at Keilor Park Recreation Reserve on Saturday.
“They were just ruthless, absolutely ruthless,” Calder president Eric Psarianos said.
“I don’t think anyone would’ve got near them today.
“They were absolutely brilliant.”
It took a mere 30 seconds for Calder United to stamp their authority on the scoreboard.
Stacey Papadopoulos kicked off the festivities with the game’s opening goal.
She finished with two goals in the rout.
Papadopoulos’ success in attack was a big tick for Calder coaches Mark Torcaso and Ian Williamson.
Papadopoulos had been predominantly used in the back half for Calder this season because of the success of the team’s front three of Aleks Sinclair, Angie Beard and Catherine Zimmerman – recently dubbed “the three-headed dragon”.
While the dragon is nigh on impossible to slay, Torcaso and Williamson knew other teams were finding creative ways to lessen their impact, so they turned to the answer, Papadopoulos.
“They can’t stop them, but they try and restrict them and negate their influence and I think sides have worked out to some degree how to restrict them as best as they can,” Psarianos said.
“They [the coaches] were smart enough to get another good runner up the field in Stacey and it’s worked a treat the last two weeks.
“The move has caught one or two people by surprise.
“She’s playing out of her skin, she was absolutely on fire.”
In between Papadopoulos’ two goals, Beard fired in the first of her double in the seventh minute.
Her second goal, in the 20th minute, was her 30th of the season.
After a hat-trick last week, Beard is causing nightmares for defenders.
“She’s been in really good goal scoring form,” Psarianos said.
Leading 4-0, Calder United received a gift in the form of an own goal.
Any doubts over which side was heading to the grand final were allayed when Gulcan Koca made it six in a half in the 43rd minute.
South Melbourne got a consolation goal through Kelsey Minton early in the second half, but it did nothing to dampen the spirits of Calder, which is gunning for a treble, following glory in the Nike FC Cup and securing the premier’s plate for finishing on top.
Calder United will meet FC Bulleen Lions in the grand final at AAMI Park on Saturday.
The Lions advanced to the big dance with a 3-1 win over Alamein on Sunday evening.