A challenging Women’s Division 1 season has come to an end for our MUWFC ladies in what 2019 can only be described as one of the toughest Women’s Division 1 competitions in recent memory. It may be referred to as a “Community League”, but there is just as much competitiveness in Division 1 as there is in the WNPL.
The Women’s Division 1 competition is always an interesting one, as there is a mix of some clubs First Team’s, while other clubs, like our MUWFC, it is their 3rd highest senior team, meaning that it can be difficult to have a good consistency in the team due to requirements in the WNPL sides, while trying to take on other clubs First Team’s.
The 2019 season started off in horrible fashion, with Kaithlyn Miu, in the very first trial game in pre-season, sustaining yet another Anterior Cruciate Ligament injury in the club, followed by Zoe Stojakovic sustaining a hip injury, which ruled both players out for the entire 2019 season. Both players are starting eleven players in Division 1, and both were sorely missed throughout the season.
The League season has been ranked as a pass by coach Leo Cappelutti, with the side continuing the trend of the WNPL and WNPL Reserves sides by finishing 5th with 9 wins, 2 draws and 6 losses (1 game was not played as it didn’t affect how the final League standings would finish) and a goal difference of -3.
However in saying that, three of the four teams that finished above our ladies didn’t have a WNPL team in 2019, meaning that our 3rd senior side was playing their First Team’s. Certainly an effort to be proud of.
The highlight for the season was undoubtedly the Round 14 match against eventual Division 1 winners Salisbury United. The match finished in a 2-2 draw, which may not sound like a highlight, but that match is the only match that Salisbury United didn’t win on their way to the title. A great effort against a side that will possibly be playing WNPL football in 2020.
The Cup competition was always going to be extremely tough for our Division 1 side, as, with the change in the womens football structure in 2019, the Division 1 was also involved with the WNPL and WNPL Reserves Cup competition.
Unfortunately, our MUWFC Division 1 side was knocked out in the 1st Round, when we came up against Salisbury Inter Reserves on a freezing cold and wet night. Although they didn’t progress on the night, the team in no way disgraced themselves, and it took a very late goal for Inter to win 3-2. If you hadn’t known that it was a WNPL Reserves team against a Division 1 team, in no way would you have picked it. Our ladies more than held their own against a side in a higher Division.
27 players played in our Division 1 side this season, which is in part due to injury issues in the WNPL setup, meaning that players were always moving up and down in the system, although a number of players played the majority of games, with 9 players being involved in 15 or more of the 17 League games played.
Mary Weaver and Elisa Savio were named co-Captains, and Weaver was nothing short of instrumental in the side finishing as high as they did this season, sacrificing her own game as a usual forward attacking option, to become an almost permanent goalkeeper in 2019. This was due to some horrible luck to the goalkeepers in the WNPL sides. Usual Division 1 custodian Olivia Bunge only managed 6 matches in Division 1, as she was consistently playing higher, which is a credit to her.
Samantha Papadimitroulis had a breakout season in defence, and was nothing short of outstanding, Justyna Dul was a constant threat in attack with her blistering pace finishing as the sides leading goalscorer, while midfielder Taylor Fiorita had a decent return of goals as well. Kathryn Drayton also enjoyed a bit of a breakout season, after playing the majority of 2018 in MUWFC’s Division 4 side, she played 14 of the 17 Division 1 matches this year.
Coach Leo Cappelutti is hoping to retain the majority of his squad for the 2020 season, and with both Zoe Stojakovic and Kaithlyn Miu hopefully returning to the side, the squad will only be strengthened, and should be able to make a tilt at the League title.