By Lance Jenkinson
Calder United has produced some out-of-this-world goals in the NPL Women’s this season, but on the day it was chasing a historic treble, all it took was a toe poke from defender Alycia Eicke to yield the ultimate glory.
Having taken out the Nike FC Cup and the premier’s plate, Calder was desperate to complete its 2019 trophy collection and did so with a 1-0 win over FC Bulleen Lions in the grand final at AAMI Park on Sunday.
Eicke’s match-winner came a mere seven minutes into the match.
Angela Beard played in a cross from a free kick which caused problems for Bulleen goalkeeper Emily Shields.
Shields’ mistimed her parry of the ball and after a bobble, it found its way to Eicke, who needed no second invitation to send the ball into the back of the net.
On a Calder team with a bevy of goal scoring stars, Eicke was one of the unlikeliest players to score the winner.
“I don’t score too many as a centre-back, so it was nice to score on a big stage like this,” Eicke said. “It’s pretty special.”
Calder United has been a scoring machine this season.
The Mark Torcaso-coached outfit produced 133 goals at an average of 4.92 per game in the regular season and qualified for the grand final with a six-pack of goals against South Melbourne in the semi-final.
However, the meetings with Bullen have been much tougher, with Calder losing two of their three NPL meetings.
Once Calder took the lead through Eicke’s goal, there was more of a mentality to protect what they had, rather than go for broke like they have done all year.
Calder captain Emma Robers said the mentality in the second half in particular was to protect what they had and not give Bulleen a chance.
“That goal really cemented it for us,” Robers said. “The second half was about keeping control, defending and making sure we got the win in the end.”
Aleks Sinclair ended one of the toughest weeks of her life on a bright note.
Sinclair is still mourning the passing of her dad earlier in the week, but she found it within herself to give Calder 90 minutes of her best.
She capped a fine game with the grand final MVP award.
“To come out here is something that he would’ve wanted,” Sinclair said.
“This game was for him and I’m so proud of the girls for stepping up and supporting me and being there for me through this tough time.
“I know he’d be very proud.”
Torcaso was proud of the commitment his Calder United players have shown from the first day of pre-season until the last minute of the grand final. He believes the key to Calder’s success comes through its squad’s depth.
“The girls have dug deep since we started back in November last year,” Torcaso said.
“We knew we had the squad depth from the start of the year.”
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