Photo by Rachel Bach
South Melbourne FC’s senior women’s side began the 2018 season with a narrow 2-1 loss against Calder United in the FFV Community Shield at Kingston Heath on Friday night.
Several first-team players were missing as they were having a short break following W-League commitments over the summer. Nevertheless, South coach Socrates Nicolaidis still had the experience of Alex Cheal, Aimee Medwin, Julia Nicolaci, Jamie Pollock, new signing (and returning player) Marianna Anthony plus newly appointed captain Tiffany Eliadis to rely on against Calder.
The first half was a disappointing affair that saw Cheal withdrawn from the field due to injury as South conceded two goals to be 2-0 down at the break. Eliadis was moved further up the field in the second half as several younger squad players were elevated from the youth sides and given their opportunity to play senior football. That show of faith was rewarded with a fantastic strike from 14-year-old Paige Zois to pull the score back to 2-1, which ultimately was the final score.
Post-match, Nicolaidis was disappointed with the result but was pleased with the second half performance. “It was a game of two halves…in the second half we gave the opportunity to several 14 and 15-year-olds and they did very well. We have been monitoring Paige for a while and are so pleased to finally have her at the club…she is one to watch for the future.”
Eliadis shared her views on her appointment as captain. “Firstly it is an honour to be given the captain’s armband. [Alex] Cheal has been an outstanding leader at this club for many years but now that she’s decided to take a step back as captain, I’m going to step up and take the leadership.”
Another positive was the return of goalkeeper Cassandra Zaffina from injury, having last played senior football against Alamein on 2 April 2017.
South’s first NPLW Victoria assignment is against the Senior NTC side at the Knox Regional Football Centre this Saturday 24 February, with kickoff at 3pm.
FINAL SCORE: CALDER UNITED 2-1 SOUTH MELBOURNE (HT: 2-0)
SMFC Goalscorer: Paige Zois (74′)
SMFC Starting XI: 1. Cassandra Zaffina (GK), 2. Marianna Anthony, 4. Leah Scroggie, 5. Aimee Medwin, 7. Chelsea Blissett, 8. Jamie Pollock, 9. Julia Nicolaci, 13. Tiffany Eliadis (c), 14. Alex Cheal, 24. Christina Stefanou, 35. Maryam Anvari.
SMFC Substitutes: 1. Alexia Karatzikos (GK), 10. Natalie Martineau, 12. Sarah Richardson, 27. Irene Paracki, 31. Sophie Papatsanis, 34. Paige Zois, 36. Betti Michael.