St Catherine school dethrone XLCR for schoolgirl football crown
St Jago coup
ST Jago High school exacted revenge on Excelsior High to claim the ISSA/KFC/Locker-room Sports Schoolgirl football crown after a 4-3 penalty win at the Spanish Town Prison Oval yesterday.
Both teams met in the final last year, but the Mountain View-based school went into the game as favourites, having managed to remain unbeaten all season.
However, national Under-17 representative Khadija Shaw carried the weight of her St Catherine-based team on her shoulders to lead them to the prestigious title.
The game began at a high pace, with St Jago making the first attempt at goal when Shaw got behind defenders but was unable to beat the goalkeeper.
Excelsior then got into their stride and it didn't take long before the game got its first goal when Nicole Broderick made a nice run down the right flank and beat the goalkeeper at her far post in the 21st minute to make it 1-0.
It became 2-0 in the 24th minute when Broderick again made a beautiful run and played the ball across to Jamella Henry who made
Excelsior continued to dominate with ball possession, but could not capitalise on the resulting chances and had to settle for a 2-0 lead going into the interval.
Conditions became overcast for second period and St Jago and Khadija Shaw found a new life when Shaw brought them back into the game after she forced an own goal by Imani Richards in the 46th minute. Shaw again went close when she chipped one over both defender and goalkeeper but only succeeded in hitting the woodwork.
Shaw popped up once more with a beautiful free kick some 25 yards out which again hit the woodwork. The excitement in the atmosphere became more electrifying when Sydoney Clarke and Shaw combined with skills with the latter producing a stunner in the 78th minute to tie the game at 2-2 to end regulation play.
The game went into 15 minutes of extra-time and the aggression intensified resulting in Sashine Smith of Excelsior being yellow carded. However, both teams failed to produce a goal and so it was on to the dreaded penalties to decide a winner.
Both teams reverted to their most agile player to play the role of goalkeeper for the shootout as Khadija Shaw stood for St Jago, while Imani Richards stood for Excelsior. Both teams scored on their first attempt, but Excelsior came up short on their second and third attempt, before putting away the last two attempts. St Jago's Rachel Walters missed out, but the next two kickers held their composure to secure the win for their team.
Coach of St Jago Robert Lewis dedicated the win to the outgoing captain of the team Georgia Bailey.
"I am really elated...words cannnot express how I feel right now, the girls outdid themselves today (yesterday). They dug really deep and got back into the game," he told the Jamaica Observer.
Losing coach Xavier Gilbert was not available for comment after the game.
The third-place play-off was won by Lennon High who had earlier defeated St Elizabeth Technical High School 3-1.