Contesting the final was the straightforward part of the week for Baradene College of the Sacred Heart’s First XI football team last Friday.
Earning the right to get to the decider in the first place and defend their NZSS Girls Premier Lotto title they won for their first time last year was far from plain sailing.
“It was almost a relief to get to the final because we played a really tough semi against Epsom Girls’ Grammar School, who we beat on penalties,” said Baradene striker and co-captain Hannah Pilley. “So that kind of felt like the bigger game.”
It was 0-0 at fulltime in the semi-final against EGGS and Baradene scraped through to the decider against Hillcrest in a penalty shootout.
“We then beat Hillcrest 3-0 and we got those goals pretty early,” said Hannah who scored two of those goals.
“We also won the APC Knockout Cup, so our team has won three titles this year so it is really good,” enthused Hannah.
Then there was the matter of getting out of their pool and making the ‘top 16’, explained team manager Bernadette Goulding.
“We lost our first pool game of the tournament 1-0 to Westlake Girls’ High School. We then beat Queen Margaret College 9-0 in our second game and luckily we won that convincingly as we drew our third pool game 1-1 against Sacred Heart, New Plymouth.”
Baradene thus made the top half of the draw for the remainder of the week on goal difference.
They then beat St Mary’s College, Wellington, 1-0, in a replay of their 2018 quarter-final against the same opposition. Their next win was in the quarter-final against Wellington East Girls’ College, 4-0.
“Then on to our semi-final against EGGS whom we had just played the week before in the final of the APC Cup and we had beaten them on penalties then,” said Bernadette.
“So we knew they would be out for revenge against us, plus they had lost their semi-final at nationals last year.”
In Friday’s final Baradene lined up against Hamilton’s Hillcrest High School, who had beaten Mount Albert Grammar School in a penalty shootout (2-2 fulltime) in their semi-final the previously day.
EGGS beat MAGS 1-0 in the third versus fourth place match, while Westlake GHS beat Napier Girls’ High School 2-1 to finish fifth.
On Sunday, Hannah also played a starring role for her Suburbs ‘Lily Whites’ team in the final of the NZ Football Foundation Kate Sheppard Cup, scoring two first half goals to see her side lead 4-0 at halftime and sail to victory in the second 45 minutes against Coastal Spirit.
“I scored in the first four minutes and then we scored three more, so this game and the school final both didn’t really feel like real finals.”
Hannah played eight games inside a week for school and club, returning to school this week to sit mock Level 3 NCEA exams.
Hannah was one of several Baradene players who were nursing injuries throughout the past week.
“I got an ankle injury in the Kate Sheppard Cup semi-final two weeks ago, so I was unsure if I could play at tournament week but thought to just go and strap it every game.”
Bernadette said that as well as Hannah’s ankle, the team lost another player to injury in the first game, another was nursing a hamstring and back injury, another pulled a glute in the quarter-final and another player had a crook ankle. “So we were actually held together with tape in the end.”
“Winning the tournament again came down to heart and the way the team gelled and handled pressure. We had eight players at nationals for the first time. Some of them new to the team, including two players from the Junior As and one from the second XI.”
“We had one year nine and four year 10s in Christchurch.”
As well as Hannah, who was last year’s Golden Boot winner and was in the New Zealand U17 team, Prue Catton was a leading player week, scoring eight goals, while Ruby Nathan is an up and coming year 9 midfielder.
Bernadette said a key to Baradene’s success this year has been “less is best.”
“We only train once a week, which is one of the reasons why we managed to survive!”
“A lot of the Baradene girls play club football, so they train two or three times a week plus playing, and some of them are also part of the FFDP programme so they are playing extra. So our coach Ryan Shiffman intelligently decided to train the girls once a week and that consisted of walk throughs of set plays and a few small-sided games.”
Of note, Auckland schools dominated this year’s tournament, with three out of four semi-finals coming from Auckland and no South Island schools reaching the top 16.
Baradene’s close neighbour Sacred Heart College also won the equivalent Boys tournament and defended their title.
Bardene College 2019 National Squad:
Hannah Pilley (c)
Margaret Wood GK (c)
*Sophia De Magalhaes
Coach: Ryan Shiffman
Managers: Rachel Buyck (Term 2 season)
Bernadette Goulding (Term 3 season and Nationals)
Injured starters who didn’t attend Nationals:
Ruby Rimmer (injured prior to 2019 school season)
Petra Buyck (injured during 2019 club season)
Rosa Caird (injured during 2019 club season)
Kate Duncan (injured during 2019 club season)
*New to the team this year
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