Calder United has taken out the 2016 NPL women’s soccer title after a dramatic 2-1 extra-time grand final win over Greater Geelong Galaxy at Broadmeadows Valley Park on Saturday evening.
United’s victory came courtesy of a powerful strike from Enza Barilla in the 92nd minute.
It was a goal that came through sheer persistence.
Moments earlier, Barilla picked up the ball in a threatening position inside the box and tried to dribble around two defenders. But the Galaxy’s numerical advantage was telling and the ball was swatted away.
Barilla would not have long to wait for a second chance with teammate Brydie Siryj cutting a cross from the right through a line of Galaxy defenders. The ball landed at Barilla’s feet; she rocked back and thumped it to the goalkeeper’s right with enough force to reach the back of the net despite it clipping fingertips along the way.
Barilla will be remembered as the match-winner for Calder, but it would not have been possible without import Kasha Meyer’s influence.
Meyer scored United’s equaliser in the 57th minute with a tap in from a goal mouth scramble, cancelling out Caitlin Pickett’s go-ahead goal in the first half for the Galaxy and ensuring the game would last the distance.
Calder’s star-studded team, coached by Mark Toscaso, could be picked apart in the coming weeks. A number of its top players have been training with Melbourne City and Melbourne Victory in the hope of landing a W-League contract.
The team’s stunning run to the NPL title will only further enhance the credentials of Calder’s best.