Sugar City Girlz blasted the Pumas of Dangriga 4-1 in the first game of the championship finals of the National Women’s Football Competition organized under the auspices of the Football Federation of Belize at the Louisiana Government School field on Sunday afternoon, May 20.
Gisel Baeza and Cianni Castañeda led the Sugar City offensive with the help of Noemi Magaña and Tamarah Baptist on the wings, supported by Shelya Peña and Nathalie Macias at midfield. The Puma defenders’ Anigi Welch, Carmita Swazo and Patricia Marin strove to keep them in check but the pressure of the Sugar City attacks won them a free kick. The execution gave Pumas’ goalkeeper Shereen Vasquez no trouble as the kicker sent the ball sailing over the crossbar.
Nykemah Kuylen and Dorita Ramos led the Puma counterattacks with fleet-footed wingers Ashanti Velasquez and Sheyanne Castillo bringing the ball up the sidelines and trying to center the ball, but the Sugar City defenders would have none of that.
Team captain Karen Garcia anchored the defense with help from Janellie Chan, Aliany Magaña and Maira Acosta. They broke up the attacks returning the ball to Nathalie Macias. Midfielders Evelyn Nuñez, Karissa Alvarado and Bernadine Gonzalez tried to close her down, but Macias got off a rocket of a shot, only to be foiled by Shereen Vasquez deflecting the ball up into the air for a catch.
Karen Garcia next blasted off a shot that was just wide of the left upright. Gisel Baeza then attacked on the left flank and her shot should have produced the first goal, but it ricocheted off the left upright.
Karen Garcia then picked up a pass from Macias and launched another shot on goal, but Shereen Vasquez proved up to the challenge.
Karen Garcia recovered the rebound and launched another shot which got past Vasquez for the first goal.
Gisel Baeza tried another shot only to be thwarted by Shereen Vasquez. The Puma defense was in disarray, however, allowing Shelya Peña to penetrate on the right flank to the edge of the 18-yard box and with Anigi Welch bearing down on her, Pena crossed the ball to Janellie Chan who simply tapped it past Vasquez into the net for the 2-0 lead.
Ashanti Velasquez and Nykemah Kuylen tried to equalize but their shots sailed over the crossbar. The Sugar City girls remained on the offensive to secure their 2-0 lead at intermission.
Pumas’ technical director, Gilbert Palacio introduced speedy Angelique Mejia and Cindy Flores to relieve midfielder Bernadine Gonzalez and Patricia Marin in the second half, while Norielly Terry relieved Janellie Chan. Gisel Baeza eluded the Puma defenders for a one on one with Vasquez and drilled a third goal into the net.
Down at the other end of the field, Kuylen blasted in a shot from the edge of the goal area, but goalkeeper Jessica McCulloch simply kicked the ball back out. Anigi Welch picked up the rebound and blasted in another shot, only to be denied again by McCulloch.
Gisel Baeza would break free again to add a fourth goal, before Nykemah Kuylen finally scored a consolation goal for the visitors in their 4-1 loss.
The finals continue with the match for third place this weekend, when the Pumas will host Sugar City Girlz for the second decisive game of the finals.