Buckley helps Excelsior to seventh straight title
Flawless, emotional, classic and triumphant are all apposite terms that could be used to describe Excelsior High's journey en route to their seventh straight ISSA/Tip Friendly Society Schoolgirls Football competition title and their 10th overall as they defeated Holmwood Technical 8-0 in the final yesterday at the Stadium East field.
Excelsior, the heavy favourites, stamped their class as early as the first minute as the menacing Shaneil Buckley delivered the goods by calmly slotting home from close range.
Buckley was again on the scorecard in the second minute after a team build-up; to power home her effort from inside the box. Excelsior's relentless attack kept Holmwood busy, as Shauntai Pryce's powerful shot made it 3-0 in the fourth minute. Buckley's hat-trick was completed in just the 10th minute as her one-touch finish put Holmwood in a 4-0 hole.
Cassandra Smith's double in the 32nd and 69th minutes, along with Jada-Lee Bryan's finish in the 46th and striker Shylah Francis' 79th-minute goal, capped off a brilliant season for the Xavier Gilbert-coached Excelsior, who completed the campaign unbeaten.
Gilbert stated that scoring as early as the first minute pushed their opponents on the back foot, which played into Excelsior's hands.
"We really controlled the game from start to finish, and especially in women's sport, once you score that early, most times you tend to win. I think that we managed the game well and we didn't give them many opportunities.
"When they're firing, it's difficult to stop us, to be honest; nevertheless, it was a total team effort, and we have to give them credit. The opposition didn't offer as much as we would have wanted, so all in all, we won convincingly," Gilbert stated.
Despite being on the losing end, head coach of Holmwood, Maurice Duncan, commended his players for reaching their first-ever final.
"I'm elated that the girls made it to our first final. This is a very young team. At the start of the season, I didn't even know that I would have been in a final, so I'm pleased with their efforts, but we didn't get it right," Duncan revealed.
In the day's earlier encounter, Garvey Maceo finished the season in third place following their 2-1 victory over Manchester High.
Liha Williams (14th minute) and Dahlia Whyte (34th minute) were on target for Garvey Maceo. Manchester High got their consolation goal from Rhyanna Dixon in the 49th minute.